A report alleges that a supervising agent at the Bureau of Land Management unethically used his position to obtain tickets and perks to the Burning Man festival and then threatened his colleagues while under investigation.
The inspector general's report details how the agent — who works at the Bureau of Land Management's Office of Law Enforcement and Security in Salt Lake City — used his position in a litany of ethical violations centering on the 2015 Burning Man Festival, followed by a host of retaliatory actions against coworkers once he learned of the inspector general's investigation.
Related: Read the report
The Jan. 30 report doesn't name the employee, but a KLM.com story claims he is Dan Love, who was also the BLM agent in charge during the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff.
Since the 70,000-person event is annually held in the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, the BLM helps manage attendance levels, develops special permits for the event and coordinates with state and local agencies to provide safety and service.
The OIG report contains a butcher’s bill of violations, including that the agent:
- Used his position to obtain sold out Burning Man tickets for his girlfriend, his father and a family friend.
- That he required five on-duty BLM agents to provide a security escort for him and his family during the event.
- That the agent used BLM-leased facilities to provide overnight lodging for his girlfriend and required a subordinate to make hotel reservations for his family.
The OIG began its investigation after receiving two anonymous complaints in September 2015. The report goes on to detail that after the agent was made aware of the investigation, that he tried to influence the testimony of colleagues who were to be questioned by investigators.
The report alleges that Love told a BLM state ranger to respond to investigators’ questions by saying, "I don’t recall," and instructed other witnesses to tell the OIG that other law enforcement’s spouses had attended the event.
Upon seeing a news story that local sheriff using a helicopter to transport his wife and son to Burning Man, the agent reportedly sent a text to a subordinate agent saying, "Email that [article] to [OIG]! ... Jesus! I look like a choir boy!"
The report said that the agent then became convinced that a OLES contracting officer was the source of the complaints, telling her, "If you’re not on my ship, you’re going to sink ... So I suggest you get on my ship."
Most explosively, the agent reportedly told a BLM budget analyst that he had ruined the reputation of a state ranger he was convinced had reported the complaints and told the analyst that, "You know, if you don’t side with me, grenades are going to go off and you’ll get hit."
The report separately asserted that the agent improperly intervened on behalf of a friend to ensure that he was hired as a BLM special agent, allegedly saying he "owned" OLES Director Salvatore
and that no action would be taken against him as a result of the allegations.
Love was a controversial figure during the 2014 standoff with ranchers over $1 million grazing fees that BLM said Bundy owed the federal government. Local law enforcement later claimed that Love exhibited a "culture of arrogance"and had helped create a rift between them and the BLM. A Feb. 3 story from USA Todaysaid that lawyers for 17 Bundy ranchers currently awaiting trial for the standoff had filed motions to reveal the identity of the agent in the report, adding that they would ask for charges to be dismissed if the agent is indeed Love.
The OIG said that it was forwarding the report to the assistant secretary for land and minerals management "for any action deemed appropriate."