DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke Under Scrutiny
Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Interior Department, has been a key figure in the Trump administration’s push to roll back burdensome environmental regulations and ramp up domestic energy production. Mr. Zinke is facing increased scrutiny based on allegations that he abused travel spending by paying for his wife to travel with him, and maintained close ties with the industries he oversees. Mr. Zinke faces at least six ethics investigations. Nine inquiries into alleged ethics violations have been previously closed with no findings of violation for any of them.
Reports came out during the week of October 29 – November 2 that said the DOI’s inspector general had referred one of the inquiries to the Justice Department. It is not clear which inquiry was referred to the Justice Department, but sources speculate it is one examining a Montana land deal that involved an organization run by Mr. Zinke’s wife and a development group backed by the chairman of Halliburton (one of the nation’s largest companies involved in drilling for oil and gas on public lands).