Watchdog Says Ryan Zinke ‘Violates His Ethical Duty’

Ryan Zinke standing by the car

US Secretary of the Interior in the Trump era Ryan Zinke “Abusing” his position to promote a private land development deal while in office and then lying about it when questioned by a federal ethics official, the statutory watchdog of the agency said on Wednesday. report.

In a 34-page document issued by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Interior Department, investigators allege that Zinke continued to work with the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation while in office, despite saying that He resigned when he was appointed. Head of the agency in 2017.

Although he has officially resigned, the report notes, “Zinke continued to be involved in Foundation affairs while serving as Home Secretary, even after resigning from the Foundation and committing to the following documents: required to the relevant Federal official that he will no longer administer or provide services to the Foundation. “

The foundation was founded by Zinke and several others in 2007. The former interior secretary and his wife have long been in talks with private developers to turn the corporation’s property in Whitefish, Montana – a town small town, primarily known for its outdoor recreation – into a massive, commercial, mixed-use development complete with hotels, micro-breweries, restaurants, and businesses. other business.

The report notes in its executive summary:

[E]letters and text messages generated by the developers indicate that Secretary Zinke continued to be involved in Foundation affairs while he was Interior Secretary, even after resigning from the Foundation and committing commit in the required document to the relevant Federal official that he will no longer manage or provide services to the Foundation. Specifically, communications indicate that Secretary Zinke was in continuous communication with the 95 Karrow project developers and negotiated with them on behalf of the Foundation by discussing the use of Foundation assets. organization for the project, specific design aspects of the project and the development of a small brewery on the property.

“Zinke, his wife, and the 95 Karrow project developers, through their attorneys, declined our request for an interview on this matter,” the report notes. It is based entirely on emails and text messages from the developers, gleaned from document production subpoenas issued by the watchdog.

In summary, the OIG found that Zinke “breached its ethical obligations as set forth in the ethics agreement, disclaimer memorandum, and accompanying documents by continuing to engage in Foundation affairs.” “while working as Donald Trumpof the secretary of the interior.

In addition, according to the report, the then-secretary “intentionally gave incorrect, incomplete and misleading answers” when questioned in July 2018 “about his role in the matters.” the Foundation’s ongoing topic and the 95 Karrow project.”

Investigators also accused Zinke of “abusing his official position” by directing “his subordinates to carry out activities related to the 95 Karrow project and its developers during the period.” on official duties unrelated to their official duties” as federal employees.

The investigation began based on allegations that Zinke used his official position to reward an executive of the Hallburton Company, who was also one of the project’s main developers and investors. court and that Zinke “may have used Federal resources and his position as Interior Secretary for personal financial gain. “While in the end, directed its employees to deny and cover up any involvement in the project.

No more serious allegation has been reported confirmed.

Ultimately, the OIG failed to prove any of the alleged criminal violations, and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Zinke for ethics violations, according to the agency’s decision.

Zinke is currently running for Congress in Montana. According to Related presshe called the OIG’s report “a politically influenced business.”

Read the full report below:

[image via Shawn Thew/Pool/Getty Images]

Is there a trick we should know? Watchdog Says Ryan Zinke ‘Violates His Ethical Duty’

James Brien

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