President Trump announced on Twitter Monday that he will nominate former oil lobbyist David Bernhardt as secretary of the Interior Department. Bernhardt became the agency’s acting secretary when scandal-plagued Ryan Zinke was ousted in January. “David has done a fantastic job from the day he arrived,” Trump wrote, “and we look forward to having his nomination officially confirmed!” Bernhardt’s nomination wasn’t a given; other possible candidates had included Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The nomination comes more than a month after Ryan Zinke resigned from the role after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into potential conflicts of interest, and a report from the inspector general found that he abused his position by letting family members join him in government vehicles. But Bernhardt may face conflict of interest concerns of his own. The Washington Post reported in November that he previously worked as a lobbyist for many of the businesses he could now be tasked with regulating.
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