Ryan Zinke Violates Code of Ethics as Interior Secretary, Seeking Investigation

WASHINGTON – Ryan Zinke, the former Secretary of the Interior, abused his position and lied to investigators about his involvement in a Montana land sale, repeatedly violating the ethics codes of state, a government watchdog say on wednesday.

The Interior Department’s inspector general found that while in office, Mr. Zinke continued to negotiate with developers about a real estate project in his hometown, Whitefish, Mont. His involvement violated an ethical agreement he signed when he took office to not get involved in such matters.

Mr. Zinke, who is running for Congress in Montana, is the subject of some ethical questions while he served under President Donald J. Trump. His campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment but called the report a “political undertaking” in the a statement to the Associated Press.

In 2007, Mr. Zinke helped found a charity, the Peace Park Foundation for Northern Veterans, and in March 2017 he stepped down as its chairman as part of an ethics deal. . But between August 2017 and July 2018, Mr. Zinke and the project developers exchanged emails and text messages about land use plans for a parking lot and a proposed microbrewery. exported, the investigators said. Mr. Zinke, the report said, “played a far-reaching, direct and important role” in representing the platform in the negotiations.

The report added that when asked about his role in the negotiations, Zinke intentionally misled an investigator. Despite his extensive involvement in the project, Mr. Zinke told investigators he was only helping his wife file taxes for the foundation and that he was not representing the foundation in any way.

In addition, the inspector general discovered that Mr. Zinke abused his office for personal gain when directing employees to arrange meetings with investors at his office at the Ministry of Interior and print documents related to the project. real estate.

But the report said Mr. Zinke did not violate federal criminal law on conflicts of interest because the agreement did not involve official department affairs. And although one of the developers is the chief executive officer of energy giant Halliburton, Mr. Zinke hasn’t done anything in his official capacity to benefit the company or the director. operating, said the inspector general.

Scrutiny of the agreement began in June 2018, when Politico reports on the involvement of Mr. Zinke and the Halliburton executive. (Halliburton’s link raised concerns about conflicts of interest as the company could be affected by Home Office policies regarding oil and gas drilling on public lands.), denied the reporting fees. solstice.

As secretary of the interior, Mr. Zinke, former Navy SEAL and member of Montana’s Lonely House from 2015 to 2017, promote Mr. Trump’s energy-first policies. He opened millions of acres of public land for drilling and made headlines when he riding to the first day of work. He resigned in January 2019 as he faces multiple investigations into his ethical conduct, including his policies and business dealings. Mr. Zinke has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. In a statement announcing his intention to resignMr. Zinke said he could not “justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false accusations.”

Other investigations into Mr. Zinke include his decision to block a proposal from two Native American tribes to expand casino operations in Connecticut. And in 2018, a government watchdog concluded that he had violated department policy by letting his wife go with him in a government vehicle. Ryan Zinke Violates Code of Ethics as Interior Secretary, Seeking Investigation

Fry Electronics Team

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