Zinke Slammed For Not Documenting Travel

By on November 18, 2017
Ryan Zinke

According to the Washington post, the Interior Department’s watchdog division has dinged Secretary Ryan Zinke for failing to adequately document his travel, which has made investigating his alleged rule-breaking more difficult.

Zinke has been under intense scrutiny over recent weeks for allegedly embarking on taxpayer-funded travel outings that were thinly veiled political activities. He flew on private or military aircraft for most of these trips, which is prohibitively expensive compared to commercial travel. Former HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price was caught up in a similar scandal earlier this year and ended up resigning his position as a result.

A memo sent from the Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall to Zinke laid out the issue.

“Our investigation is delayed by absent or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips and a review process that failed to include proper documentation and accountability,”  said Kendall.

Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt fired back, however, blaming the Obama administration – rather than the guy actually taking the taxpayer-funded trips – for the lack of documentation.

“When I arrived at the Department in August 2017, it was clear to me that the Secretary and I inherited an organizational and operational mess from the previous administration,” Bernhardt wrote in reply. “From my perspective . . . it appears that the exact same [travel] procedures and processes utilized by the previous Administration remain in place and continue to be dysfunctional.”

It has been a hallmark of the Trump administration to try to blame Obama – or really anyone else convenient – for its shortcomings. This latest salvo, however, reeks of desperation. Why can’t the IG’s office get a clear indication of Zinke’s travel costs? Or his justification for all the trips?

If Zinke really has been jetsetting across the country to help out his political allies, he’s going to find himself in much the same hot water that Price ended up in before he was forced out.