LAS VEGAS » The family of a southern Nevada rancher caught up in a showdown with federal authorities over grazing on public lands says it is assembling a team of legal advisers to consider options.
A statement issued Tuesday by Cliven Bundy’s family said any action it pursues will focus on protecting individual rights and restoring constitutional principles.
It also takes issue with Gov. Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie for not investigating the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Two weeks ago, about two dozen family members and other Bundy supporters filed reports with the sheriff’s office alleging crimes by federal agents against people protesting the roundup of cattle from public land.
"Our governor and sheriff should have been our heroes, but yet they remain corrupted," the statement said.
The sheriff’s office said it wouldn’t comment Tuesday, and a Sandoval spokesman did not immediately respond to an email.
BLM officials have accused Cliven Bundy of failing to pay grazing fees for 20 years, racking up more than $1.1 million in fees and penalties, and failing to abide by court orders to remove his cattle from vast open range that is habitat for the endangered desert tortoise.
Bundy’s statement Tuesday came a day after the head of the BLM said his agency plans to act through the courts to hold lawbreakers accountable in the dispute.
BLM chief Neil Kornze said during a National Public Radio interview on Monday that some people broke laws before a roundup of Bundy’s cattle was suspended last month northeast of Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Kornze’s first public comment about Bundy came on the "Diane Rehm Show."
Kornze said the agency is committed to working through the legal system. Agency officials said the same thing when the roundup was called off April 12 amid threats of violence involving federal authorities and armed Bundy supporters near Interstate 15.