WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar threatened to punch a reporter with the Colorado Springs Gazette after the reporter asked him about the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horses program at an Election Day get-out-the-vote event.
Reporter Dave Philipps conducted a two-minute interview with Salazar, a Democrat, at the event at an Obama campaign office in Fountain on Election Day.
The interview — recorded by Philipps and witnessed by Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy organization — was “perfectly pleasant” until the end, Kathrens said.
“He asked him about what his major accomplishments were and then asked him about his travels, what he was doing, and then he asked him about the 1,700 wild horses in BLM holding facilities,” she said. “Salazar said he didn’t know very much about it but that it was his understanding there was an investigation being done.”
Philipps broke a story in September, in cooperation with ProPublica, about a Colorado man named Tom Davis who has purchased 1,700 wild horses from the federal government but can’t produce documentation on what happened to them.
Davis is a proponent of horse slaughter, which is illegal on wild horses roaming public lands. For two years, he has sought investors for a slaughterhouse, Philipps’ story said.
After the interview, Kathrens said she tried to shake Salazar’s hand. He brushed past her, she said, and approached Philipps.
Salazar then reportedly was caught on tape saying, “Don’t you ever … You know what, you do that again, … I’ll punch you out.”