U.S. SENATE— U.S. Senator Steve Daines today spoke on the floor of the United States Senate about President Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning. Daines highlighted new information regarding Stone-Manning’s involvement in a tree spiking crime including obstructing a federal investigation and withholding critical information that could have resulted in criminals being put behind bars years before they were.
To watch the full speech, click HERE.
To read the letter that Stone-Manning typed and sent on behalf of tree-spiking criminals, click HERE.
Daines’ remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. President, today I rise to bring attention to new revelations about President Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning’s involvement in a tree-spiking incident in Idaho, and to share why I must oppose her confirmation.
“I would have welcomed having a nominee with such strong ties to Montana to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management… and until recently I believed, as did most Montanans, based on her testimony in 2013 before the Montana state legislature, that her role in the tree spiking crime was minimal, her actions were helpful and she helped bring criminals to justice.
“Unfortunately, new information has revealed that this was not the case.
“Rather than bring criminals to justice, Ms. Stone-Manning assisted and helped them evade justice for years… years.
“First, it reveals that she withheld the truth from investigators for several years.
“Second, it reveals that she harshly criticized federal law enforcement at the very same time she was refusing to tell them the truth.
“And third, it reveals that she has not taken responsibility or expressed remorse for not speaking the truth much… much sooner.
“I know many of my colleagues are probably just tuning into Ms. Stone-Manning’s involvement in a tree spiking crime committed in 1989 while she was a member of an ecoterrorist group called Earth First!.
“The picture that she and her advocates have painted about her involvement in this crime is that she was the innocent hero who helped put bad people in jail.
“Well, in recent weeks, we have learned there is far more to the story.
“It’s very alarming, and it’s very disturbing on many levels.
“Ms. Stone-Manning stated to the legislature that a rather frightening man approached her with a letter while on campus.
“Come to find out that man wasn’t a stranger, but her roommate and someone whom she described to the court during the 1993 trial as someone who was in her main circle of friends.
“Ms. Stone-Manning stated that she simply mailed the anonymous letter.
“In reality, the investigation later revealed that this letter had not only been collaboratively composed, but after waiting for a few days, it was typed and sent by Ms. Stone-Manning on a type writer she rented, which according to her own testimony, was because she wanted to avoid having it on her own computer and avoid having any fingerprints that could be traced back to her.
“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….’
“She typed ‘I would be more than willing to pay you a dollar for the sale, but you would have to find me first and that could be your worst nightmare.’
“The text of the letter was never made public and Montanans never had the opportunity to read what Ms. Stone-Manning typed and sent… until just a few weeks ago.
“The letter is chilling, and it makes you think that if Ms. Stone-Manning was really concerned about the tree spiking, she could have gone to the authorities immediately.
“We also now know she had firsthand knowledge about the perpetrators.
“She knew who did it… she knew ALL of the details about the crime… she knew who spiked the trees.
“She withheld this information from law enforcement in 1989 even after she was subpoenaed by a Grand Jury for her hair, handwriting and finger print samples.
“She didn’t report it to law enforcement in 1990.
“Not in 1991 or 1992.
“In fact, she condemned the FBI for investigating her in the first place despite knowing ALL of the details of the crime.
“She claimed being investigated by the FBI was and I quote, ‘degrading,’ and that the ‘government does do bad things.’
“She compared her treatment to how the government of Panama would treat someone.
“Ms. Stone-Manning said all of these things and played the victim despite knowing all of the details of the crime… despite having the opportunity to put bad people behind bars.
“What Ms. Stone-Manning did was actively obstruct an investigation.
“At no time, by the way, did Ms. Stone-Manning come forward from her own volition.
“She only came forward after a break in the investigation… after another suspect identified her involvement… and AFTER her attorney struck an immunity deal… NOT before she was caught.
“In fact one of the men she had the opportunity to put behind bars during the time she remained silent, went on to commit an act of domestic violence.
“Her cooperation with law enforcement could have prevented this.
“None of her actions show any sort of remorse. They didn’t then, and they still don’t now.
“Ms. Stone-Manning has not expressed regret for her false and disparaging characterization of federal investigators.
“This deception and misrepresentation of her involvement coupled with her clear violation of Senate Ethics rules while she served as a senate staffer, leave the public with no reason to trust her judgement, her leadership capabilities or her ability to remain pragmatic when making decisions on behalf of Bureau of Land Management.
“Ms. Stone-Manning has lost her credibility and to move forward with her nomination would cause more controversy and distrust for the leadership at the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Senate and the Biden administration.
“The 10,000 employees at the Bureau of Land Management that report to the Director need that as well.
“President Obama’s former director of the agency, Bob Abbey, has concluded that Stone-Manning’s ‘questionable past’ brings ‘needless controversy’ to the agency.
“Obama’s own director of this agency said that her involvement in the tree spiking crime ‘should disqualify’ Stone Manning and that the Biden administration needs a new nominee.
“I agree with Mr. Abbey.
“Montana, the West and all of America needs a Director of the Bureau of Land Management that can garner public trust, bring folks together and lead with integrity.
“Throughout the confirmation process, I have given Ms. Stone-Manning a fair shake – an opportunity to answer questions about important policies that impact the Montana way of life.
“However, over the course of the last few weeks, the new information that has come to light has led me to oppose her confirmation.
“The controversy surrounding this nomination, is not, and has never been, about party-line politics.
“Montanans care about trusting those in public service, about integrity.
“The public trust surrounding Ms. Stone-Manning has been wrecked, and her ability to be the Director that the Bureau of Land Management needs has been compromised beyond repair.
So as this nomination draws more attention and some continue to contend that her actions were commendable, I hope all of my colleagues with give full consideration to the facts I have laid out today.
“I urge my colleagues, especially those that represent Western states, to join me in opposing this nomination.
“I urge the Biden administration to pull Ms. Stone-Manning’s nomination, and nominate someone to lead the agency that can garner public trust, and one that can lead the agency without controversy.
“Mr. President, I yield back my time.”
Contact: Katherine McKeogh, Katie Schoettler