Local law enforcement in North Dakota says a former White House staffer — who is related to an important player in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests — is using her political influence to keep federal authorities from assisting local authorities from removing demonstrators from the Dakota Access Pipeline site.
Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz recently called out Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault saying, “The Standing Rock Tribal Council recently voted to move the large protest camp currently located on Army Corp of Engineer property to Tribal land west of the town of Cannonball.“
He went on to say, “In the past two days protesters have instead begun to relocate and trespass on private property closer to the pipeline path. [Chairman Archambault] must condemn this action and do everything he can to comply with the wishes of the Standing Rock Tribal Council.”
Archambault has a powerful ally who worked in the White House — his own sister Jodi Gillette. According to The Bismarck Tribune, Gillette was a senior policy adviser on Native American Affairs For President Obama. The Tribune notes that Gillette could not work on issues related to Standing Rock because of the conflict of interest owing to her status as a tribal member and familial relation to the chairman.
However, according to a letter obtained by The Daily Caller sent from Executive Director and CEO Jonathan Thompson of the National Sheriffs’ Association to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Gillette may have used her previous connection to the president to keep Justice Department resources away from North Dakota law enforcement handling the pipeline protests.
“There are now vocal concerns one Tribal Chairman’s sister has exercised her influence as a White House staffer and a Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs executive to actively thwart the authorization of federal law enforcement reinforcements,” Thompson writes. “If true, this behavior warrants a formal investigation of those complicit in aggravating this situation.”
The Daily Caller previously learned from a source that the Justice Department told the North Dakota U.S. Attorney to “stand down” when it came to dealing with the pipeline protesters.
The White House also appears to be ignoring Democrat North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp who called for federal help at the protest site.
“If the Administration is serious about maintaining the peace and sanctity of this land and our communities, it’s absolutely critical that it steps in with the support our local law enforcement needs to keep our ranchers, our tribes, and the protesters protected,” Heitkamp said last week. For months I’ve been pushing our federal agencies to provide the resources and certainty North Dakotans need, and I’ll keep it up – because no family or business should have to fear for their personal safety or the safety of their property.”
Local authorities moved in on the protesters Thursday, the Associated Press reported. The Morton County Sheriff’s office says that law enforcement began their operations at 11:15 a.m. local time, one day after demonstrators would not leave the North Dakota private property voluntarily.
Almost 200 protesters, many from out of state, have set up teepees and tents on the site in support of the Standing Sioux Tribe, who claims the land is legally theirs under a century-old treaty.
However, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline developer, disputed this treaty in federal court and won against the tribe and now says the protesters are trespassing on private property and demand that they vacate the area.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said on a radio show Tuesday that protesters blocked highways with bales of hay, rocks and logs. “There were drones in the area that were operated by protest individuals that were near the helicopter and then there were reports of arrows also being shot at so we are looking at those to see if we can identify the proper individuals.”