Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ‘abused’ his position, Watchdog says

Ryan Zinke ‘abused his position’ and ‘failed to live up to his ethical obligations’ while serving as Donald Trump’s Interior Department secretary, according to a report of the inspector general of the agency. The watchdog has conducted an investigation into Zinke’s conduct in response to allegations that Zinke was heavily involved in a land development project in his hometown when he was head of the Home Office, and that he had negotiated with promoters who might have benefited from his official position, including a Halliburton executive. He continued to engage in real estate negotiations on behalf of a family foundation, although he “represented that he had resigned [from the foundation] by appointment” as secretary of the Home Office, the inquest found. Between August 2017 and July 2018, he corresponded 64 times with developers to discuss project details and held a meeting with them at agency headquarters. Investigators also found that he had used some staff members to perform project-related tasks, which had nothing to do with official Home Office business. But ultimately, Zinke was not found to have breached conflict of interest rules, since his side gig was tied to a private business deal and no evidence was found to prove that he “has taken official action” for the benefit of the developers.

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