When Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

An investigation accusing the Bureau of Land Management’s Dan Love of misconduct and ethics violations could end the feds case against Nevada’s Cliven Bundy and others. Love was the special agent in charge of operations during the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff.

Though not named specifically, the report does offer enough details to identify Love as the agent in question. Formerly with the Federal Air Marshal Service, Love was special agent in charge of Utah and Nevada between 2012 and 2015, and whose ouster was called for by Utah’s governor in 2014, while having four Utah counties pass resolutions saying he posed a threat to public safety, and he was the agent in charge of a 2009 raid of the home of Utah doctor James Redd.

A January 30 report by the Department of Interior’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) raises questions about Love, a key witness in the Bundy case. The report cites events that happened during the 2016 Burning Man in Northern Nevada.

Love is accused of requesting flushing toilets, laundry facilities, 24-hour access to ice cream, buying three tickets to the sold-out Burning Man, using five on-duty BLM officers to escort his father, having a family friend and a girlfriend attend the event and changing the hiring process so a friend could be hired. Then during the burning of the effigy, Love claimed 72 hours of official work time over a three-day period.

Love is also reported to have also called other employees and encouraged them not to cooperate, telling them ‘I don’t recall’ was a valid answer to the IG’s questions. He’s also accused of intimidating co-workers into not speaking with the IG.

The IG’s report goes directly to credibility of the government’s case if Love is identified as the agent. Federal officials said the BLM agent’s name was withheld from the report because he is not a top official within the agency.

In January 2016, Ammon and Ryan Bundy became part of a so-called siege at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Oregon and were eventually arrested following the murder of LaVoy Finicum by federal officers. A federal jury later acquitted both of the Bundy’s and five other defendants of all charges.

Cliven Bundy was arrested in 2016 for his part in the 2014 Nevada standoff as he was heading to the Oregon refuge. His sons and 14 others are also charged and are being held as political prisoners in a detention federal facility in Southern Nevada.

The 17 defendants are charged with conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, using a firearm in a crime of violence, obstruction of justice, interference of commerce by extortion and aiding and abetting a crime. If convicted, they could spend the rest of their lives in a federal prison.

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