Bureau of Land Management employees appeared to be "less than objective" and created the potential for illegal behavior when coordinating with environmental groups over the National Landscape Conservation System, the Interior inspector general has found.
The Interior IG investigated the interaction between federal employees and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) after receiving a complaint that NLCS directors were potentially engaged in inappropriate relationships with advocacy groups and possibly violated anti-lobbying statutes and policies. The report (pdf) focuses largely on interactions with the National Wildlife Federation.
"Our investigative efforts revealed that communication between NLCS and certain NGOs in these circumstances gave the appearance of federal employees being less than objective and created the potential for conflicts of interest or violations of law," the IG report states. "We also uncovered a general disregard for establishing and maintaining boundaries among the various entities."
The investigation found that numerous activities and communications took place between NLCS officials and advocacy groups, including discussions about the NLCS budget and the editing of brochures and production of fact sheets by BLM employees for the National Wildlife Federation.