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Republicans quiz Biden BLM pick Tracy Stone-Manning on partisan previous, personal loan

Republicans signaled one other robust affirmation battle Tuesday with their grilling of Tracy Stone-Manning, President Biden’s pick to move the Bureau of Land Management, and never simply on her partisan previous.

Ms. Stone-Manning was quizzed a few personal loan of between $50,000 and $100,000 that she obtained from a good friend in 2008 at 6% curiosity, about half the market charge on the time, whereas she was working as regional director for Sen. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat.

“According to your disclosure, it looks like you received that at an interest rate of 6%, but the going rate for a consumer loan was 11%,” mentioned Sen. Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican, on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee listening to.

“Do you feel like that’s some type of a conflict of interest to take out a personal loan when you were working for a United States senator, and were you aware that the difference in the interest rate was significantly below the average?” Mr. Marshall requested.

He mentioned that Ms. Stone-Manning didn’t end repaying the loan till 2020. During that 12-year interval, she additionally headed the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and served as chief of employees for Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat.

“Ethics are deeply important to me,” she replied. “Like many families in 2008, we got smacked by the recession, and a friend loaned us some money to make sure that we could get through it, and we came to terms and we honored the loan.”

She didn’t supply the identify of the good friend, however info from her ethics disclosure shared with The Washington Times confirmed that the lender was Stuart Goldberg.

No additional details about the good friend was offered, however there’s a outstanding Montana developer and Democratic donor named Stuart Goldberg who contributed $2,100 to Mr. Tester’s marketing campaign in 2006, in accordance with the Federal Election Commission.

The loan’s favorable phrases increase questions on whether or not the transaction could possibly be construed as a present, and if that’s the case, whether or not Ms. Stone-Manning reported the deal to the Senate Ethics Committee as required for workers who obtain presents from mates exceeding $250.

The Interior Department, which oversees the company, had no remark. Mr. Tester’s workplace mentioned it had no document of the matter.

Introducing Ms. Stone-Manning was her former boss, Mr. Tester, who praised her as a listener and problem-solver nicely outfitted to run the bureau, which administers 245 million acres of federal land and 700 million acres of subsurface minerals. 

“Tracy is a proven leader with a track record of working across the aisle to get things done,” Mr. Tester mentioned. “She is honest, she is driven by facts, not political ideology, she is adept at managing the needs of diverse interests, and I know she is a perfect choice to run the BLM.”

Meanwhile, Republicans had robust questions for Ms. Stone-Manning, fueling hypothesis that the committee could cut up and even report the nomination unfavorably, if the Democratic chairman, Sen. Joe Manchin, votes towards her.

Taking subject with Ms. Stone-Manning was Sen. John Barrasso, the rating Republican, who described her as a risk to industries similar to ranching, farming, logging and drilling that function on BLM land as a part of its multiple-use mandate.



Her resume consists of stints on the National Wildlife Federation and Montana Conservation Voters — three a long time in the past, she was a spokesperson for the infamous tree-spiking collective Earth First — however Mr. Barrasso mentioned that “perhaps most troubling is Ms. Stone-Manning’s unvarnished political partisanship.”

He cited a February tweet that quoted from an editorial blasting Republicans against then-Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to move Interior as “nothing more than ‘a dog-whistle reserved for a candidate of Haaland’s tribal status — and gender.’”

During the 2020 election, she served as a board member and treasurer of the Montana Conservation Voters, which ran “political ads attacking Montana Sen. Steve Daines,” mentioned Mr. Barrasso.

“Well, Montanans saw right through it, and so have I,” he mentioned.

Mr. Tester objected to the characterization, telling Mr. Barrasso his feedback “did not describe the person that I just talked about. This person listens, she works, she does the right thing.”

Ms. Stone-Manning downplayed her function with MCV, saying, “I was a voluntary board member who had a core belief of never micromanaging staff. I hope that you would look to my record in my day job on that issue and my approach to it.”

Asked concerning the Biden administration’s “pause” on oil-and-gas leasing on federal lands, she deferred to Mr. Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland.

“I think the president and secretary have been clear that this leasing pause is giving the department time to take a hard look at the oil-and-gas program and make sure it is right for the century we’re living in,” mentioned Ms. Stone-Manning.

As for the anti-Daines advertisements, she mentioned that “elections can be tough. I was supporting my former boss, Gov. Bullock, but the election is over, and I will honor the outcome of that election.”

Even so, Sen. Bill Cassidy, Louisiana Republican, requested why GOP senators ought to vote for somebody along with her partisan historical past.

“You’ve been incredibly partisan in your past, including working actively against the candidacy of Sen. Daines. Theoretically, you’re going to work with Republicans in your office,” he mentioned. “I see you have a prepared reply, you’re pulling that over. Can you speak from your heart? Because it seems like your heart is that you don’t particularly care for Republicans.”

Ms. Stone-Manning responded that “my dad and mom are rolling of their graves, who’re Republicans.

“I was raised in a Republican household. I live in a bipartisan landscape. I think that my career has shown that,” she mentioned. “The only way to get things done in the country and specifically in the West is to work together. I have a demonstrated track record of doing that.”

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