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September 4, 2014

U.S. Attorney Denies That Claims Have Been Ignored in Bundy Case

Las Vegas Review Journal reports that a public interest group was highly mistaken when it stated that authorities were “sitting on” cases involving the Bureau of Land Management. The cases were proposed for prosecution weeks after the agency had a standoff with Cliven Bundy, a Clark County rancher. PEER, or Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an organization including local, state, and federal natural resource employees, revealed Tuesday that the BLM sent 35 criminal referrals to the Justice Department on April 30. This was three weeks after agents who sought to round up cattle that belonged to Bundy were met by an armed militia. The militia was there to defend the rancher, who has stirred up controversy in the area. The cattle had allegedly been trespassing on federal rangeland. The roundup was cancelled due to the threat of violence. PEER complained that the number of referrals was five times the number of cases the BLM has ever filed in a month, and actually exceeded the complaints filed by BLM during the remainder of the fiscal year. PEER alleges that the cases were listed as active and had neither been accepted nor denied for prosecution. A research group at Syracuse University, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, analyzed the data. PEER filed suit in June, alleging that the BLM was wrongfully withholding documents regarding the seizure of the cattle. Bundy has long fought with the U.S. government over grazing rights. The Justice Department’s policy of withholding details of criminal complaints until they are fully resolved has also been criticized. David Burnham, co-director of Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, noted that such a practice was not unusual.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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