Ahead of Bundy Retrial, Grijalva Requests GAO Report on Threats, Attacks Against Federal Land Managers and Agency Property

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today requested a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the scale of recent threats against and attacks on federal land management agency officials and property. The request comes shortly ahead of the July 10 retrial date for four alleged perpetrators of the 2014 armed standoff near Bunkerville, Nev.

The full request letter is available at http://bit.ly/2urAuHp.

Noting that the 2015 armed standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon – in which the Bundy family was also centrally implicated – was just the most visible instance of a more widespread phenomenon, Grijalva writes in part:

Many of the Malheur plotters are affiliated with a broader anti-government movement that, for decades, has targeted federal facilities and employees throughout the Western United States. This movement includes hundreds of militias and other groups violently opposed to federal ownership and management of lands in the West. Broadly speaking, this movement views the federal government as the enemy and does not respect the laws of this country.

Grijalva’s request is the latest move in his ongoing efforts to combat terrorism directed at federal land management agencies. In April 2016, following the conclusion of the Malheur standoff, Grijalva and Reps. Jared Huffman and Niki Tsongas asked Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) to hold a hearing on extremism directed at public land management agencies. That request was ignored.

Grijalva and House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie Thompson held a June 2016 roundtable on the issue, where Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) President Richard Cohen testified:

Fox News’ Sean Hannity repeatedly trumpeted [Cliven] Bundy as a hero. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas put the blame on President Obama and a government “using the jackboot of authoritarianism to come against the citizens.” U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada called the Bundy family “patriots.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he had “a problem with the federal government putting citizens in the position of having to feel like they have to use force to deal with their own government.”

These incidents are becoming more frequent. As the Center for American Progress has noted. . .

  • In May 2014, militia members from the Nevada Bundy standoff traveled to San Juan County, Utah, for an armed show of force against the federal government. They illegally rode all-terrain vehicles through Recapture Canyon, a public lands area containing Native American archaeological sites.
  • In April 2015, members of Oath Keepers and the Pacific Patriots Network convened on the Sugar Pine Mine in Josephine County, Oregon, to provide an “armed defense” of the mine’s owners amid unfounded fears that the Bureau of Land Management was preparing to close the mine.
  • In August 2015, Oath Keepers led a similar armed occupation of U.S. Forest Service land in Montana, blocking access to public lands and the White Hope Mine.

GAO has confirmed receipt of Grijalva’s request. There is no deadline for publication of the report.

Press Contact

Media Contact: Adam Sarvana (Grijalva)

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