President Joe Biden has named Tracy Stone-Manning as his choice to head the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). But new reports suggest the nominee has a shady history that may derail the White House’s plans.
In an exclusive interview published this week, the Daily Caller spoke with John Blount, a man convicted for orchestrating an act of eco-terrorism decades ago who says Stone-Manning had loose ties to his operation — and he didn’t exactly paint her in a positive light.
Biden’s latest nominee
In 1993, Blount received a 17-month federal prison sentence for orchestrating a “tree-spiking” operation in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest, the Daily Caller reported.
Tree-spiking is a practice that involves inserting metal rods into trees so as to prevent them from being harvested by loggers. It’s widely regarded as an “eco-terrorist” activity, the Daily Caller said, hearkening back to a 1987 case involving a mill worker who lost half his jaw when his saw blade struck a spike.
The conviction for Blount apparently came following a talk between Stone-Manning and government authorities after she sent what the Daily Caller described as an “anonymous and threatening letter” for Blount warning of his actions.
When appearing before Montana lawmakers in 2013, the now-BLM nominee described Blount “disturbed” and “frightening” figure who pressured her into mailing the anonymous letter for him, a characterization that Blount rejects.
“I knew who Tracy was. Didn’t know her well. She liked the way I kissed,” Blount recalled in his interview with the Daily Caller, adding, “I don’t see the horrifying menacing part.”
GOP pushes back
Blount said that Stone-Manning kissed him at a party “in front of a lot of other people” and exhibited no signs of apprehension over being around him.
“I remember her telling several other people that I had gone to the party with: ‘I like the way he kisses,’” he said.
Blount testified that his motivation for writing the letter was to prevent potential harm “in the event anybody tried to cut down the trees.”
He also denied giving the letter directly to Stone-Manning, instead insisting that he gave it to the man he identified as her then-boyfriend, John Lilburn. In her testimony, Stone-Manning simply said Lilburn was a friend of hers, the Daily Caller reported.
Meanwhile, Stone-Manning is facing widespread opposition from Republicans. Last month, 75 GOP lawmakers sent a letter calling on President Biden to withdraw her nomination, Fox News reported.