Zinke Broke Ethics Rules While Leading Trump’s Interior Dept.: Watchdog

"The department’s inspector general found Zinke had repeated contact with developers about a real estate deal and lied about it to an ethics official. The Justice Department declined to bring charges."

"Facing serious allegations about his ethics and conduct in office, Ryan Zinke, then secretary of Donald Trump’s Interior Department, told a government official in 2018 that he had done nothing improper. Negotiations over a land deal in his hometown of Whitefish, Mont., were proceeding without him. His involvement was minimal, he said; his meeting with the project’s developers at Interior headquarters was “purely social.”

But a report released Wednesday by the department’s internal watchdog caught Zinke in a lie. Email and text message exchanges show he communicated with the developers 64 times between August 2017 and July 2018 to discuss the project’s design, the use of his foundation’s land as a parking lot, and his interest in operating a brewery on the site.

“These communications, examples of which are set forth below, show that Secretary Zinke played an extensive, direct, and substantive role in representing the Foundation during negotiations with the 95 Karrow project developers,” Inspector General Mark Greenblatt’s office wrote."

Anna Phillips and Lisa Rein report for the Washington Post February 16, 2022.


"Watchdog Finds Trump Interior Boss Ryan Zinke Violated Ethics Rules, Misused Office" (HuffPost)

"US Investigators: Zinke Misused His Interior Secretary Job" (AP)

"Trump’s Interior Chief Faulted Over Ethics in Land Deal" (Bloomberg)

"Interior IG Finds Trump Secretary Zinke Broke Ethics Rule" (The Hill)

"Investigators Slap Zinke On Candor, Ethics In Real Estate Deal" (E&E News)

Source: Washington Post, 02/17/2022