Indian Gaming Today

Monday, March 16, 2009

With All Deliberate Speed: Hearing Held on Deputy Interior Secretary Nominee

Despite high expectations, things have slowed down a little at the Interior Department. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been the only confirmed nominee, and not much is happening on Indian affairs. However, former Clinton Administration Deputy Interior Secretary David J. Hayes is set to assume the same position under President Obama.

Hayes, an attorney, has been a partner at the Washington office of Latham & Watkins, well known as one of the leading environmental, energy, and natural resource law firms in the world. At Latham & Watkins, Hayes’ practice focused on counseling, litigation, and transactions, and he was, in effect, a lobbyist.

With a promised focus on tribal economic development, Hayes told the Senate Entergy and Natural Resources Committee that he is looking forward to “working with Native American communities,” which “was one of the most rewarding aspects of the job” when he worked at Interior in the Clinton era.

Although after leaving office last time around, Hayes was accused of violating anti-“revolving door” policies designed to prevent too much cozying up between lobbyists and government, a bipartisan investigation did not evidence that to be the case. Still, the relationship did not sit too well with Senator John McCain. Hayes did not represent any tribal clients during his time at Latham and Watkins.

The Committee will vote on Wednesday.

For more, see
here, and see the Committee hearing here.

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