Julie MacDonald, former Interior Department deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, resigned earlier this month after the release of the Inspector General’s report.  The report stated that she leaked internal agency documents to lobbyists, attempted to manipulate agency scientists and changed scientific recommendations regarding endangered species.

Now, in a theme repeated often under the current administration, it seems she not only acted to benefit industry, but also acted to benefit her own interests.  Ms.MacDonald owns some 80 acres in an area deemed habitat for threatened fish.  Her efforts to remove the fish from the threatened species list have now given rise to a Congressional inquiry.  

ENS link

WASHINGTON, DC, May 21, 2007 (ENS) – Two senior House Democrats launched an inquiry today into reports that a Bush political appointee may have improperly removed a California fish from a list of threatened species in order to protect her own financial interests.

Julie MacDonald, who resigned this month as Interior Department deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, was actively involved in removing the Sacramento splittail fish from the federal threatened and endangered species list at the same time that she was profiting from her ownership of a farm that lies within the habitat area of the threatened fish, according to an investigative report published Sunday by the “Contra Costa Times” newspaper.

Her income from the said property?  Considerable.

MacDonald’s financial disclosure statement shows that she earns as much as $1 million per year from her ownership of the 80 acre active farm in Dixon, California.

Good reason to seek her former appointment.  Why work from outside the system when such means are available?

Representative George Miller of California:

It looks like another Bush administration official was protecting her own bottom line instead of protecting the public interest,” said Miller, a senior member and former chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and a long-time proponent of the Endangered Species Act and Bay-Delta fish and wildlife issues.

They all seem to play from the same script.  

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