[JURIST] The US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks violated federal rules against sharing non-public endangered species information with private industry groups, according to an investigative report released Thursday. Julie MacDonald, who joined the Bush administration in 2002, admitted that she gave internal US Interior Department [official website] and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [official website] information to private groups including the Pacific Legal Foundation and the California Farm Bureau Federation [advocacy websites]. The investigation into MacDonald's activities also uncovered two emails that she sent to individuals with e-mail addresses ending in "chevrontexaco.com."
US Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney [official profile] conducted the investigation into MacDonald's activities and documented comments by other US Interior Department officials who characterized MacDonald as favoring developers by "manipulating science" in an effort to meet her policy goals as a political appointee. US Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) [official website], chairman of the US House Natural Resources Committee [official website], officially released Devaney's report and said he plans to conduct a hearing in May to address concerns "on whether politics is infiltrating decisions" by governmental officials on environmental issues. AP has more.