Under the Freedom of Information Act, CREW requests:

  1. Copies of all prepared remarks used by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt at the National Mining Association meeting at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C. on October 4, 2017; and
  2. Copies of all documents received by Deputy Secretary Bernhardt and/or his staff during the October 4, 2017 National Mining Association meeting at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C.; and
  3.  Copies of all documents describing the attendees at the October 4, 2017 National Mining Association meeting at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C., the agenda of the meeting, and/or any planned follow up actions by DOI; and
  4.  Copies of all photos and/or video from the October 4, 2017 National Mining Association meeting at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C.; and
  5.  Copies of all records documenting payments made by DOI to the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C., in relation to Deputy Secretary Bernhardt’s October 3, 2017 attendance at the National Mining Association meeting at the Trump hotel as well as all records seeking reimbursement for expenses incurred at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C.; and
  6.  Copies of all communications to or from Secretary Ryan Zinke and/or Deputy Secretary Bernhardt that mention or relate to the National Mining Association

On the afternoon of October 4, 2017, Deputy Secretary Bernhardt attended a meeting of the board of directors of the National Mining Association held at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C., which is still majority owned by President Trump through a revocable trust. Secretary Zinke had initially been scheduled to attend, but was “unavailable for the meeting” due to travel, according to a DOI spokesperson..The National Mining Association is a trade association representing the coal and mineral industries. In 2017 so far, the National Mining Association has reported spending more than $950,000 on federal lobbying, which includes a focus on DOI. As the Washington Post noted, in August DOI “stopped a National Academies of Sciences study on the local health risks of mountaintop coal mining” that the National Mining Association said “may be unnecessary.”

The requested records would shed light on what Deputy Secretary Bernhardt discussed with the mining executives at the National Mining Association and increase public knowledge about how DOI communicates with industry stakeholders in private about public policy. In addition, since President Trump has refused to divest from his private business interests, ethics experts and lawmakers have raised concerns about taxpayer funds being used at his private businesses, particularly in light of President Trump’s frequent trips to his for-profit properties. The requested records would shed light on whether DOI funds were used to pay for any part of Deputy Secretary Bernhardt’s visit to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC and whether any taxpayer funds ended up in the coffers of the president’s private business.

2017-10-11 FOIA REQUEST