OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role | Trump, Biden spar over climate change at debate

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FILL-IN THE BERN: The Department of the Interior will not name a new acting director to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after it’s leader was ousted by a federal judge, top officials told employees in an email obtained by The Hill.

Instead the job will be left to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

A Montana-based U.S. district judge on Friday ruled William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of BLM, “served unlawfully … for 424 days” and enjoined him from continuing in the role.

The decision was in response to a suit from Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who argued Pendley, whose nomination to lead the BLM was pulled by the White House last month, was illegally serving in his role through a series of temporary orders.

A Wednesday email makes clear that Interior will not be placing the top career official in charge of the nation’s public lands agency, as its department manual dictates.

“I understand there may be some questions about the ruling on Friday regarding William Perry Pendley’s leadership role at the Bureau of Land Management,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond wrote in an email to BLM staff.

“Secretary Bernhardt leads the bureau and relies on the BLM’s management team to carry out the mission. Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, William Perry Pendley, will continue to serve in his leadership role.”

Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, ruled Friday that Interior and the White House improperly relied on temporary orders far beyond the 210 days allotted in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act while also violating the Constitutional requirement to seek approval from the Senate.

“The President cannot shelter unconstitutional ‘temporary’ appointments for the duration of his presidency through a matryoshka doll of delegated authorities,” he wrote.

Pendley has sparked controversy over the course of the year he has led BLM due to his long history opposing federal ownership of public lands as well as comments he has made questioning climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Putting Bernhardt at the helm of the agency appears to comply with the court order from Morris.

But critics say the move centralizes power for the agency in the highest political circles after relocating more than 200 Washington, D.C.,-based positions to Grand Junction, Colo., in order to bring employees closer to the lands they manage.

The move leaves just 61 BLM employees in Washington.

“Secretary Bernhardt’s decision to centralize final decision-making in Washington,

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Interior Secretary will lead BLM after judge ousts Pendley from public lands role

The Department of the Interior will not name a new acting director to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) after it’s leader was ousted by a federal judge, top officials told employees in an email obtained by The Hill.

Instead the job will be left to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

A Montana-based U.S. district judge on Friday ruled William Perry Pendley, the controversial acting director of BLM, “served unlawfully … for 424 days” and enjoined him from continuing in the role.

The decision was in response to a suit from Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court removes Pendley from role as public lands chief | Pendley court ruling could unravel Trump’s public lands decisions | 1 in 4 adults cite climate change in decision not to have children Pendley court ruling could unravel Trump’s public lands decisions Court removes Pendley from role as public lands chief MORE (D), who argued Pendley, whose nomination to lead the BLM was pulled by the White House last month, was illegally serving in his role through a series of temporary orders. 

A Wednesday email makes clear that Interior will not be placing the top career official in charge of the nation’s public lands agency, as its department manual dictates.

“I understand there may be some questions about the ruling on Friday regarding William Perry Pendley’s leadership role at the Bureau of Land Management,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond wrote in an email to BLM staff.

“Secretary Bernhardt leads the bureau and relies on the BLM’s management team to carry out the mission. Deputy Director for Programs and Policy, William Perry Pendley, will continue to serve in his leadership role.”

Judge Brian Morris, an Obama appointee, ruled Friday that Interior and the White House improperly relied on temporary orders far beyond the 210 days allotted in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act while also violating the Constitutional requirement to seek approval from the Senate.

“The President cannot shelter unconstitutional ‘temporary’ appointments for the duration of his presidency through a matryoshka doll of delegated authorities,” he wrote.

Pendley has sparked controversy over the course of the year he has led BLM due to his long history opposing federal ownership of public lands as well as comments he has made questioning climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hammond’s email includes a statement from Interior solicitor Daniel Jorjani making clear that the department will appeal as Bernhardt shepherds the BLM.

“The Department of the Interior believes this ruling is erroneous, fundamentally misinterprets the law and unreasonably attempts to up-end decades of practice spanning multiple presidential administrations from both parties. Nevertheless, the Department will comply with the Court’s Order, while we move forward with an appeal and review all other legal options,” Jorjani wrote.

“The Bureau of Land Management has not had a Senate-confirmed Director of the Bureau of Land Management during this Administration, nor has it named an Acting Director. This is still the case in respect to

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Homespun BLM products including cookie kits, garden gnomes raise concerns of exploiting movement

A few weeks after nationwide protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd, Julie Muller looked for something positive she could contribute to the movement from her Houston home.

The 67-year-old white woman, who has been selling homemade cookie-decorating kits online since March, decided to offer one with a Black Lives Matter theme. The kit comes with cookie cutters imprinted with former President Barack Obama’s face, sprinkles and icing in red, black and green — the colors of the Pan-African or Black Liberation flag.

Other examples of homespun BLM merchandise include wine stoppers and even garden gnomes — objects more often associated with white suburbia. The white sellers insist they are not trying to make light of racial issues or widen their profit margins. But to many onlookers, the sales through the crafts marketplace Etsy may straddle an uncomfortable line between supporting the movement and exploiting it.

Muller’s three children were the first to warn her she might appear to be capitalizing on racial unrest. But that’s partly why she wanted to act.

Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, poses in her kitchen Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, poses in her kitchen Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

“I’ve been thinking about what’s systemic racism and what is racial profiling,” Muller said. “It’s more about doing my part. What can I offer?”

The protest movement ignited by Floyd’s death in May under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer compelled businesses large and small to declare publicly that they were “woke” to the pain of Black people. Manufacturers soon began making BLM T-shirts, face masks and signs.

It’s not surprising that independent merchants wanted to express solidarity too, said Patti Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

To demonstrate sincerity, sellers should commit to making these items permanently to show their efforts are not just an attempt “to jump on a fad,” she added.

There’s also potential for the items themselves to be seen as offensive or tone-deaf.

Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller's cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, on Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller’s cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, on Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Ashleigh Boutelle, 45, of Twin Peaks, California, custom paints garden gnomes as a side business. After making gay pride gnomes, he decided in July to try painting a Black Lives Matter gnome. The yellow-and-black-clad gnome — a nod to the colors used on a Black Lives Matter website — wears a “BLM” hat. He also painted it with a darker skin tone.

“I was just trying to be very careful and present something that you might say is neutral,” Boutelle said. “Hopefully, someone who sees it is not offended.”

He has since gotten a few orders for either Black Lives Matter gnomes or African American gnomes. Boutelle hopes people don’t question his sincerity because his support is displayed on a mythical figure with a pointy hat.

“I like the idea of offering it to

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BLM leader arrested for allegedly spending $200K in donations on tailored suits, a house, and guns

The FBI arrested a Black Lives Matter activist for allegedly using over $200,000 in donations on personal expenses.



Sir Maejor wearing a suit and tie


© Provided by Washington Examiner


“In sum, Page has spent over $200,000 on personal items generated from donations received through BLMGA Facebook page with no identifiable purchase or expenditure for social or racial justice,” FBI agent Matthew Desorbo said.

Sir Maejor Page, 32, was arrested Friday in Toledo, Ohio, and is facing federal wire fraud and money laundering charges for allegedly spending the money on tailored suits, a home in Ohio, and guns.

Page became involved with the Black Lives Matter movement in 2016 when he founded the Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta on Facebook. He used the page to solicit donations through a GoFundMe account, the FBI said.

Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta raised nearly $470,000 between June and August, following the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day.

“Numerous videos and livestream videos were posted to Page’s personal social media pages showing himself in what appeared to be newly purchased clothing, hotel rooms and office space in Atlanta,” the FBI said in its release. “Several audio statements are made by Page in the videos boasting about the money he has, his tailored suits, his nice cufflinks and ‘$150 dollar ties.’”

He was charged with one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. He was released on bond after appearing before a judge via video.

Tags: News, Atlanta, Black Lives Matter, Ohio, Crime

Original Author: Emma Colton

Original Location: BLM leader arrested for allegedly spending $200K in donations on tailored suits, a house, and guns

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Homespun BLM products include cookie kits, garden gnomes



Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller's cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller’s cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A few weeks after nationwide protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd, Julie Muller looked for something positive she could contribute to the movement from her Houston home.

The 67-year-old white woman, who has been selling homemade cookie-decorating kits online since March, decided to offer one with a Black Lives Matter theme. The kit comes with cookie cutters imprinted with former President Barack Obama’s face, sprinkles and icing in red, black and green — the colors of the Pan-African or Black Liberation flag.



Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, makes cutout cookies for her Black Lives Matter kits Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, makes cutout cookies for her Black Lives Matter kits Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Other examples of homespun BLM merchandise include wine stoppers and even garden gnomes — objects more often associated with white suburbia. The white sellers insist they are not trying to make light of racial issues or widen their profit margins. But to many onlookers, the sales through the crafts marketplace Etsy may straddle an uncomfortable line between supporting the movement and exploiting it.



This Sept. 21, 2020, photo provided by Ashleigh Boutelle in Twin Peaks, Calif., shows Black Lives Matter gnomes and gay pride gnomes he painted and is selling online. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (Ashleigh Boutelle via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
This Sept. 21, 2020, photo provided by Ashleigh Boutelle in Twin Peaks, Calif., shows Black Lives Matter gnomes and gay pride gnomes he painted and is selling online. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (Ashleigh Boutelle via AP)

Muller’s three children were the first to warn her she might appear to be capitalizing on racial unrest. But that’s partly why she wanted to act.

“I’ve been thinking about what’s systemic racism and what is racial profiling,” Muller said. “It’s more about doing my part. What can I offer?”

The protest movement ignited by Floyd’s death in May under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer compelled businesses large and small to declare publicly that they were “woke” to the pain of Black people. Manufacturers soon began making BLM T-shirts, face masks and signs.

It’s not surprising that independent merchants wanted to express solidarity too, said Patti Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.



Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, mixes up cookie dough Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, mixes up cookie dough Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of

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Interior watchdog: top officials misled Congress on BLM relocation out West

Top Interior Department officials misled Congress when they claimed high office rent in Washington, D.C., was a factor in the need to move the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to a new headquarters in Colorado, the agency’s internal watchdog found.

A report on Tuesday from Interior’s Office of Inspector General found that two officials overplayed the cost of BLM’s M Street SE lease near Nationals Park as a motivating factor in the move, as the agency already had plans underway to return to office space owned by the government.

Joseph Balash, a former assistant secretary for land and minerals management who now works in the oil industry, and BLM acting Director William Perry Pendley, whose tenure with the agency is the subject of a lawsuit, are implicated in the report.

Both men wrote in correspondence with Congress that BLM would be unable to stay in its existing M Street SE office because the cost would exceed the $50 per square foot limit set by the government.

The report found the claims were “misleading” and said that “the future lease cost of 20 M Street was irrelevant.”

Interior announced in July of last year that it would move more than 200 of BLM’s Washington-based employees to existing offices across the West, while putting nearly 25 of its top-ranking leaders at a new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo. The move would leave just 61 of BLM’s 10,000 employees in Washington.

The move was considered a victory for Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerMail-in voting won’t hurt conservatives — Trump will Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining | Groups pressure Biden to exclude fossil fuel execs Interior watchdog: top officials misled Congress on BLM relocation out West MORE (R-Colo.), who is facing a tight reelection campaign, but it raised the eyebrows of former BLM employees, who questioned why the agency would leave such a small footprint in D.C. and set up shop in a town four hours from any major airport.

But well before Grand Junction was on the drawing board, BLM was already planning to leave its M Street SE space.

“When we got that lease it was a bargain,” said Steve Ellis, who retired from the highest-ranking career position within BLM in 2016. 

“Since we moved people in there, Nationals Park popped up across the street, the area’s become much more popular and built up. That’s a good thing, but it meant the lease would be cost prohibitive when it ended, so we we’re looking around at options.”

Rather than pay more than $50 per square foot, the inspector general found evidence from both 2016 and 2017 that the department “had longstanding plans” to move BLM employees either to the Main Interior Building (MIB) or another federal facility.

“The evidence indicated that the future lease cost of 20 M Street was irrelevant at that point due to the department’s earlier plans to move the BLM into the MIB or

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