“As a federal law enforcement officer, Love’s actions have the potential to not only taint your investigation, but to seriously undermine the trust in BLM’s law enforcement office and thwart congressional oversight of the Bureau. As such, I request that you investigate the specific allegations raised in your interviews of destruction of federal records, witness tampering, and obstruction of a congressional investigation.”

by Marjorie Haun

On Valentines day, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote a letter responding to the Department of Interior’s Inspector General’s report on the “numerous instances of troubling behavior exhibited by (Dan) Love.”

The investigation of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agent, Dan Love, has been ongoing and complex. With a history of complaints against Love of bullying, overly-aggressive tactics, ethics violations, and now, tampering, lies, and cover-ups, it appears that the most infamous figure in recent BLM history is now under the scrutiny of Congress’ most powerful investigative arm. The House Oversight Committee, headed by Jason Chaffetz, cites extremely serious, potentially-criminal activities, that go beyond Love’s ethics breaches related to the Burning Man controversy of 2015, or his extreme mishandling of the Operation Cerberus and Bundy Ranch cases. Love’s possible criminal activities include; destruction of federal records, witness tampering, and obstruction of a congressional investigation.

The letter from Oversight to Interior Department Deputy Inspector General, Mary L. Kendall, details many of the complaints, and instances of possible criminal activity by Love:

I understand your office initiated this investigation in October of 2015 after receiving numerous complaints concerning Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employee Daniel Paul Love. The report documents numerous instances of troubling behavior exhibited by Love (excerpts taken from letter):

  • Your report documents that a witness told your investigators that after receiving a congressional request for documents, the witness heard Dan Love “say to [another BLM employee] that [said BLM employee] needed to make sure that he scrubbed the emails before he sent them, you know, flagging anything that looked inappropriate so that [Dan Love] could remove them if needed.”

  • …a witness testifies about how  BLM employee accessed and “deleted hundreds of documents” from a shared network. The deleted documents were “team documents” which served as the “historical record or administrative record” for a BLM authorized event. The witness stated the deleted documents were subject to the Federal Records Act, and were required, under the law not to be destroyed.

  • The timing of the deletion of federal records raises questions. In your report, a witnexx notes a BLM employee “deleted hundreds of documents” on February 3, 2016, only to receive a congressional request for those same documents the very next fay. The witness states that “it just seemed odd to [her]that on February 3rd a lot of documents were removed or deleted from the Google drive, and then the next day [BLM is] hit with th[e] congressional” inquiry.

  • It also raises questions that former BLM Director Neil Kornze was provided, as a courtesy, advance notice of the congressional document request prior to February 3rd. We must find out which BLM employees were aware of an impending congressional inquiry when they set about deleting potentially responsive federal records.

  • Your report documents that Love allegedly attempted to influence the outcome of your investigation by coaching a witness in advance of an interview with your investigators. In your investigative report, you state a specific occasion when “Dan Love called [a BLM employee] and…essentially gave [said BLM employee] talking points for any questions that may come up during his interview” with your office.

  • The report states Love provide that same BLM employee with “rationalizations,” leading the employee to believe Love was essentially telling them what to say in the interview. This allegation is problematic as it occurred after you had already initiated your investigation into Love’s behavior.

  • As a federal law enforcement officer, Love’s actions have the potential to not only taint your investigation, but to seriously undermine the trust in BLM’s law enforcement office and thwart congressional oversight of the Bureau. As such, I request that you investigate the specific allegations raised in your interviews of destruction of federal records, witness tampering, and obstruction of a congressional investigation.

The letter (below) is signed by Chairman of the Oversight Committee, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, and Blake Farenhold, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy and Environment. [PDF]

There is no question that the avalanche of accusations against, and investigations into the activities of BLM agent Dan Love, will prove problematic for the feds’ attempted prosecution of Bundy Ranch defendants in the ongoing Nevada trials. Dan Love is a key prosecution witness in the Nevada trial, but his apparent tampering, lies, and destruction of records may completely derail the feds’ case. As Chaffetz’ fierce committee presses the Love investigation, years of outcry from the Bundys, and others in Nevada and Utah, including the family of Dr. James Redd, who have been victims of the arrogance and aggressive tactics of BLM agent Dan Love, may finally be vindicated.

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