WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar reportedly threatened to punch a reporter with the Colorado Springs Gazette after he asked him about the Bureau of Land Management's wild horses program at an Election Day get out the vote event.

Gazette reporter Dave Philipps conducted a two minute interview with Salazar at the event at an Obama office in Fountain on Election Day.

The interview — recorded by Philipps and and witnessed by Ginger Kathrens, head of the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy organization — was "perfectly pleasant" until the end, Kathrens said.

"He asked him about his 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," Kathrens 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.

The man is a known proponent of horse slaughter, which is illegal with wild horses roaming on public lands. For two years, he has sought investors for a horse slaughterhouse, Philipps' story said.


After the interview , Kathrens said tried to shake Salazar's hand. He brushed past her, she said, and approached Philipps.

Salazar then reportedly said, "Don't you ever ... You know what, you do that again ... I'll punch you out."

Salazar's spokesman Blake Androff said Tuesday that, "the Secretary regrets the exchange."

Philipps referred questions to his editor, who did not return calls from The Denver Post.

"He (Salazar) has anger management issues," Kathrens said. "He has anger management issues on this particular issue. He was very angry over ... a couple of innocuous questions."