House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Deputy Solicitor of Water Resources Daniel Cordalis and DOI’s designated agency ethics official Heather Gottry, requesting information to evaluate Cordalis’s compliance with his ethical requirements. In part, the members wrote:
“On June 11, 2021, Mr. Cordalis leveraged his position as a political appointee to overrule a January 14, 2021 legal policy penned by nonpolitical career officials related to requirements under the CVPIA. By overruling the January 14, 2021 memorandum, Mr. Cordalis enacted an official decision in favor of a position to maintain high level of funds available for CVP grants. The Yurok Tribe, Mr. Cordalis’s former client, has a financial interest in the funding levels available under the CVPIA. Since 2013, the Yurok Tribe received at least $30.8 million in BOR grants related to the Central Valley Project.
“As Deputy Solicitor for Water Resources, Mr. Cordalis is subject to President Biden’s ethics standards. Therefore, for two years, Mr. Cordalis is prohibited from participating in ‘any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to [his] former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.’ The financial implications of his June 11, 2021 memorandum, particularly for the Yurok Tribe, call Mr. Cordalis’s compliance with President Biden’s standards into question.”