Zinke’s Private Flight Trips Now Under Scrutiny

By on October 6, 2017
Ryan Zinke

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is trying to sell the story that he’s traveling around on private flights to conduct official business, but investigative reporting from Politico has uncovered that Zinke has often been doubling-up on his travel, holding political fundraisers during his taxpayer-funded trips.

While it’s not apparent that there has been anything egregiously illegal about the trips, many experts say that Zinke is flirting with the line and risks crossing a number of ethical boundaries with his travel habits.

“It happens on occasion with other Cabinet secretaries, perhaps even a little more often as you get near the election, but it is not a very common practice for Cabinet members to be hopping around from campaign event to campaign event like we’re seeing with Zinke,” said government affairs expert Craig Holman in the Politico piece.

In addition to his Caribbean trips, Zinke chartered a $12,000 flight on a plane owned by a major oil executive that flew him from Las Vegas to his house in Montana for a one-night stay. Not coincidentally, Zinke has been doing everything he can to open up public lands for new oil drilling.

One would think that with the enormous cost that Tom Price paid for flying in extravagance on the public dime that Zinke would be more careful about how he handles this situation, but so far his response to the whole ordeal has been that it’s just “BS” and that there’s nothing to see here. To that end, it’s clear that the Interior Secretary is unlikely to change his travel habits, but will just be a little more careful to sprinkle in “official business” whenever he wants the taxpayers to cover the bill for his private flight to a campaign fundraiser.

First, he punishes whistleblowers and now he charges his lavish lifestyle to the American public. Zinke’s ethics seem to fit right in with the Trump administration.