All Griled Up
During his confirmation hearing in May 2001, J. Steven Griles promised the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that his former job with a lobbying firm, where he represented a broad array of utilities, mining companies, and energy producers, would not interfere with his new position as deputy interior secretary of the United States. He signed two letters pledging to recuse himself for up to six years from matters that could affect his former firm and clients — but within weeks of taking office, he began meeting with former clients and taking positions on regulatory matters affecting them. Griles claims he has violated neither his personal pledge nor federal conflict-of-interest guidelines, but some environmental groups disagree and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has called for an investigation into the deputy secretary’s behavior.
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