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The more a government seeks refuge in secrecy, the less credibility it has with the people it serves. The longer a government refuses to answer basic questions about public business, the more suspicious taxpayers become.
We first published those exact words last year, when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management refused to answer important questions about the April 2014 blowup at the Bundy ranch in Bunkerville. The BLM, in attempting to end a decades-long grazing dispute with rancher Cliven Bundy, dispatched an armed force and air support across northern Clark County to round up his cattle. The overdone, militarized response to a civil dispute rallied Mr. Bundy’s rangeland allies and anti-government types, creating a confrontation that was a single trigger pull from becoming a bloodbath. The BLM pulled back, and the public demanded answers.
How much money was wasted on the aborted roundup? How was it planned? To what degree were local officials consulted? Were other approaches considered? And who signed off on the debacle?
No answers were provided.