U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell last week told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that tax scofflaw Cliven Bundy will be held accountable for his behavior.
“Cliven Bundy has had multiple court orders to remove his cattle from federal public lands, and he has not paid his grazing fees, and he has not abided by the law,” she said. “We will continue to pursue that.”
However, the federal government's negligence in the case make continued threats against Bundy seem empty—or at least some Nevada ranchers think so. A few days after Jewell's comments, the New York Times reported on other Nevada ranchers who, inspired by Bundy's example, have begun grazing their cattle without paying grazing fees, apparently feeling secure that the feds' threats can safely be ignored.
“If I end up in a federal prison, I hope it's Martha Stewart's,” said Lander County rancher Eddyann Filippini.
“So far, that does not look likely,” the Times observed.
Bundy's failure to pay his fees dates back two decades without the Interior Department taking effective action.