More than a year after two lawmakers demanded that then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar disclose if and why as many as 1,700 federally protected wild horses may have been sold and slaughtered, no report has been released.
Now Salazar is long gone, and the department’s inspector general still has not issued findings from an investigation promised by the end of 2013. The lawmakers want answers.
“It’s disappointing,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat, who in January 2013 had written to the Interior Department with Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. In their letter, the two said they were troubled by concerns that the government may have sold captured mustangs to a “kill buyer,” who then shipped them to a Mexican slaughterhouse.
In response at the time, an Interior spokesman said, “The Office of the Inspector General has initiated an independent investigation into the situation, and we look forward to the results of that inquiry. Anybody that is found to have violated the law should be held accountable.”
Meanwhile, the agency also announced that sales of wild horses and burros will be restricted under new rules put into place by the Bureau of Land Management — a move that wild-horse advocates dismissed as “window dressing.”
But the results of the promised investigation have yet to be publicly reported. And more than a year later, neither the department nor its inspector general responded Wednesday to inquiries about the status of the investigation.
Grijalva said Wednesday that he suspects the agency is just hoping that people “forget about it.” Whitfield’s office had no immediate comment.
Grijalva added that Obama administration officials should not assume he’ll drop the matter because he’s a Democrat. “Maybe the department believes because we’re of the same party maybe we won’t scream and humiliate them and call them into a meeting in front of the world,” he said. But Grijalva said he does not intend to let questions go unanswered.
A report in September 2012 by the news service ProPublica said that the BLM sold more than 1,700 captured mustangs at about $10 a head to Tom Davis, described as a Colorado livestock hauler and a proponent of the horse-meat industry.
Salazar is also from Colorado. Some published reports say Davis claims to know Salazar and hauled cattle for him for years. An Interior Department spokeswoman said last year, however, that Salazar had no recollection of Davis, including any business dealings with him.
Laura Leigh, an advocate with Wild Horse Education, said Wednesday that she believes the BLM silence is “par for the course,” signifying the agency’s belief that people will simply forget this matter, though it had initially promised a report by the end of the 2013.
“But there’s been no word,” she said.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."