According to a report from the Daily Beast's William Bredderman, financial disclosure documents submitted by former half-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin have once again called attention to her links to a company accused of making bribes to the Trump administration in an effort to get approval on a massive construction project hampered by environmental rules.
At issue is an investment she made of up to a half million dollars in a limited liability corporation tied to El Dorado Holdings, a company that was the focus of a congressional investigation in 2019 that led to a criminal referral to "the Department of Justice, urging it to investigate what Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) described as a case of 'criminal bribery,'" reports the Beast.
"El Dorado became the epicenter of national controversy when a U.S. Fish and Wildlife field supervisor claimed in 2019 that he’d come under politically motivated pressure from then-President Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior to reverse his position on permitting requirements for a 28,000-unit planned development in Benson, Arizona.," the report states. "The committee’s investigation uncovered covert correspondence carried out over non-government channels between El Dorado executives and top staffers at the Department of the Interior in 2017. These communications culminated in an undisclosed meeting in Billings, Montana, between El Dorado founder Mike Ingram and then-Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, who would later assume the agency’s top job."
According to the report, Palin became friendly with Ingram after she met him during her ill-fated run for vice president as the running mate of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
As the report notes, "A source close to the committee told The Daily Beast that they believed a third party acted as an interlocutor between Ingram, who formerly co-owned the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the presidential appointees."
"That was something we wondered, how he got hooked up with the Trump administration, how he made those connections," the Daily Beast's source explained. "It seems clear it was somebody very high up who helped facilitate those introductions and meetings.”
According to Lanny Davis, an attorney representing El Dorado, there is nothing suspicious and that "neither Palin nor [the late Republican Rep. Don.] Young ever assisted his client in contacting administration officials, and insisted Ingram knew both Bernhardt and his predecessor Ryan Zinke from their pre-Trump careers."
Davis added that any attempt to make something of the connection is a "smear."
“This is more reminiscent of Joe McCarthy than progressive Democrats who should be guided by the fundamental constitutional principles of civil liberties, due process of law, and the presumption of innocence," he said in a statement.
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