MONTANA - Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester released statements Thursday on the Senate Committee's vote on Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination to run the Bureau of Land Management.
Sen. Tester sent the following statement, after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee moved Stone-Manning’s nomination forward on a 10-10 vote:
“Tracy Stone-Manning is a tireless advocate for the public lands that drive Montana’s economy and has spent her career fighting for them, as well as the good-paying jobs that rely on them. I’ve seen firsthand Tracy’s dogged work to find collaborative solutions to some of our most challenging issues while bringing diverse viewpoints together to get things done. She will bring Montana common sense to an agency that desperately needs it while serving as a nonpartisan steward for some of our nation’s greatest treasures, and I look forward to confirming her on the Senate floor as quickly as possible.”
Sen. Daines sent the following statement objecting to Stone-Manning’s nomination:
“Mr. Chairman, before proceeding with this vote, as Montana’s voice on this Committee, I want to provide you all with the Montana perspective on the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Bureau of Land Management.
“Until 42 days ago, Montanans, the Montana state legislature, the Montana press and myself were led to believe that in a tree spiking crime that happened years ago, Stone-Manning was a hero…. That she helped but bad people in jail.
“Mr. Chairman, the Biden Administration has repeated this mischaracterization, and unfortunately just this morning we have heard members of this committee repeat it as well.
“But based on new information we now know, that’s untrue… and that Stone-Manning obstructed a federal investigation for years.
“Rather than bring criminals to justice, Ms. Stone-Manning assisted and helped them evade justice for years… years.
“We now know that despite telling the press in 2013 that she came forward on her own volition, Ms. Stone-Manning only came forward years later when she had been caught and subpoenaed by a grand jury for her hair, handwriting and finger print samples.
“We now know that while Ms. Stone-Manning was bad mouthing law enforcement for investigating her involvement, she was stone walling the investigation refusing to tell them the details of the crime.
“And that while she was withholding this information, one of the perpetrators went on to commit an act of domestic violence and is believed to have participated in other eco-terrorist activities.
“That individual bears responsibility for his crimes but it is fair to point out that his subsequent acts of violence might have been prevented had Stone-Manning immediately told federal investigators the truth about the tree spiking.
“In front of the Montana State Legislature, Ms. Stone-Manning painted herself as a bystander with no association to the perpetrators.
“Come to find out, the man who approached her with the letter wasn’t a stranger, but her roommate and someone she described as being in her main circle of friends.
“They were also involved together in EarthFirst. An eco-terrorist organization that during these same years were committing abhorrent crimes and making obscene threats.
“For years Montanans were led to believe that Tracy Stone-Manning simply mailed an informing letter.
“In reality, this letter was collaboratively composed, and had been typed by Ms. Stone-Manning herself on a rented type writer to avoid having it traced back to her.
“This letter was made public for the first time within the last few weeks.
“The words Ms. Stone-Manning typed and mailed are explicit, and not what you type and send to protect people… they’re what you say to frighten people…. Ms. Stone-Manning typed ‘you bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt….’
“Ms. Stone-Manning misled the Montana State Legislature in 2013 and she has not been forthcoming since, nor has she shown remorse.
“Nowhere in the public record or responses to the questions for the record does she say in hindsight she should have immediately told federal investigators what she did and what she knew and that she profoundly regrets not doing so. This lack of contrition is troubling.
“It also makes me wonder what else she isn’t being forthcoming with.
“We know she wasn’t forthcoming to questions about a $100,000 loan she received, below interest rate, without any documentation, from a wealthy democrat donor and real estate developer while working for a U.S. Senator.
“She stated in her responses to questions for the record, that she ‘did not consider the loan to the business to be a gift.’
“But as all of us and all of our staff know, we are not the ones who decide whether a loan is acceptable or not. Federal law and the Senate Ethics rules make that decision for us.
“And independent watchdogs have reviewed the matter and concluded that she very likely violated those legal requirements.
“To be clear, I believe people can learn from their mistakes and change for the good.
“Her extremism during her postgraduate studies could very well have given way to a more moderate approach.
“But, the intentional deception and misrepresentation in Montana for decades and the fact that she has not taken any responsibility nor expressed any kind of remorse at any point simply cannot be ignored.
“President Obama’s former BLM Director said that, Ms. Stone’ Manning’s ‘questionable past’ brings ‘needless controversy’ to the agency and should ‘disqualify’ her to serve in this role.
“The 10,000 BLM employees, Montana, and the entire West need a Director that can garner public trust, bring folks together and lead with integrity.
“In light of this new and very disturbing information, I will firmly oppose her confirmation.
“Montanans, including the Montana State Legislature, did not have the information in 2013 that you now have.
“I would urge you not to turn a blind eye to her actions that placed wildland firefighters, federal employees, and loggers trying to put food on the table, at risk nor the utter lack of remorse we have seen for her involvement.
“I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing her nomination.”