Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has been all over the news in recent weeks‚Ää—‚Ääand it hasn’t been the kind of media attention politicians crave. Reports (here, here, here, here, here, and here) highlight the secretary’s questionable use of private charter flights and his unethical‚Ää—‚Ääand possibly illegal‚Ää—‚Äähabit of mixing politics with his official job as Interior Secretary.
Secretary Zinke has tried to cultivate an image of the hardened cowboy, more comfortable wrangling bulls in Montana than schmoozing donors at fancy fundraisers. Sometimes a politician’s image doesn’t align with his (or her) personality and priorities. Since joining the Trump administration in February, we know of at least 7 fundraisers or political events the secretary has attended at high-end resort destinations. The Interior Department has provided no receipts or evidence that Secretary Zinke repaid taxpayers for his government-funded flights to these locations.