Will Trump &/or trophy-hunting sons attend?
CHICAGO, Illinois––Currently campaigning for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump, Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe is to host his annual live pigeon shoot political fundraiser on September 9, 2016 at a private hunting club about 10 miles from Altus, Oklahoma, followed by a dove hunt the next day.
Whether either Trump himself or his trophy-hunting sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. plan to attend has not been disclosed, but Inhofe is among Trump’s most vocal boosters.
Trump sons shoot birds
Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. invited reporters from The Guardian, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to watch them shoot five captive-reared pheasants on the eve of the January 2016 Iowa primary election––which Donald Trump won, beginning his march to the Republican nomination.
“In contrast to their father, who never had much interest in hunting, the younger Trumps’ enthusiasm for the activity has been well known since 2012, when photographs surfaced of them posing with dead animals after a big game hunt in Zimbabwe,” recalled Paul Lewis of The Guardian. “The billionaire’s sons were snapped posing with an elephant, a leopard, a waterbuck and a crocodile hanging from a tree by a noose.”
Inhofe expected to run again in 2020
Inhofe, 81, in the U.S. Senate since 1994, after eight years as a Congressional Representative, will not next be up for re-election until 2020. But Inhofe is believed to be likely to run again if his health permits.
Arguably the most vehement climate change denier in elective office, Inhofe chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, a strategic position from which to look out for the interests of major donors to his past election campaigns, including the oil and gas industry, electric utilities, the National Rifle Association, National Association of Realtors, and Koch Industries, headed by far-right political campaign financiers Charles and David Koch.
“Famous Persons Act”
After ANIMALS 24-7 described how the mythical “Famous Persons Act” appears to have protected “Bollywood” film star Salman Khan, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) founder Steve Hindi pointed out that Inhofe too appears to have benefited from the “Famous Persons Act,” in a manner evocative of the behavior of affluent and influential people in the developing world.
Salman Khan, as ANIMALS 24-7 detailed, has eluded jail and other meaningful penalties since 1998, despite multiple poaching convictions, most of them overturned after years of appeals, during which time key witnesses died or “disappeared,” only to resurface after Khan was cleared. Khan is to face trial on the remaining 1998 charges on August 10, 2016.
SHARK exposed Inhofe in 2014
Inhofe has escaped penalties for alleged violations of U.S. and state legislation in connection with his bird-shooting fundraisers for only a few years––but the bird-shooting fundraisers only became public knowledge and came under humane scrutiny a few years ago.
“In 2014, after receiving an anonymous tip, a SHARK investigator traveled to Oklahoma, attended the Inhofe fundraiser and pigeon shoot undercover, and captured the horror that unfolded. That video went viral,” Hindi recounted in a SHARK media release.
“Illegal hunting blinds”
“After seeing the SHARK video, representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation realized that the land Inhofe used was federally owned,” Hindi continued. “The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation investigated the property and discovered not only that Inhofe should never have been allowed to use the federal property to hold a political event, but that there were illegal hunting blinds set up and a massive commercial grade dump where garbage was burned.”
The Bureau of Reclamation on December 18, 2015 acknowledged to SHARK in writing that events such as the Inhofe pigeon shoots are “not allowed on federally owned land.”
The Bureau of Reclamation “made the parties remove the unauthorized hunting blinds and game feeders and clean up the burn pit,” Hindi recounted. “However, no legal action has been taken to hold anyone, including Senator Inhofe, accountable for the violations of federal law.
“If any of us set up illegal hunting blinds or a massive garbage burning operation on federally protected land, we would be in jail, end of story,” Hindi charged. “But that’s not what happened.”
Inhofe committee oversees agency with jurisdiction
The U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, which Inhofe chairs, “has oversight of the same agencies that should have investigated” Inhofe, Hindi pointed out.
Hindi and SHARK had somewhat more success pursuing alleged violations of Oklahoma state law.
“In 2015,” Hindi said, “Inhofe was forced to drop his use of Oklahoma game wardens and county sheriff’s deputies as part of his shoot security.”
Member of Inhofe party shot down drone
However, Hindi added, “At his 2015 shoot, someone in Inhofe’s party shot down a drone used to capture footage of the slaughter,” as shown on SHARK video.
“The shoot-down violated federal law,” Hindi charged, “but Greer County Sheriff Devon Huckabay refused to even allow his officers to respond. Oklahoma Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson, who is in charge of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, also refused to have anything to do with Inhofe’s [alleged] violations of state and federal law.
“System truly is rigged”
Concluded Hindi, “It is simply outrageous that our federal government acknowledges that Inhofe’s political fundraiser on federal land violated the law, but then refuses to hold Inhofe accountable. No one will even investigate the shoot down of an aircraft – another federal violation.
“The system truly is rigged to protect Inhofe,” Hindi finished, calling the Senator “a sadistic, corrupt coward whose only place in public life should be in a federal penitentiary.”