“It turns out the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accepted money for staffing costs from a private entity — the Eastern Collier Property Owners – which, as many readers may know, has a permit application the federal agency is currently reviewing. The arrangement was first reported by Jimmy Tobias of the Intercept in a year-long investigative project that reviewed hundreds of public records.
Kevin Bell, staff counsel at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, told the Intercept that the financial arrangement between the developers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees is “corrosive” to public service. It’s pretty rare, he said, “that the federal government puts employees performing environmental reviews up for auction.””