A federal investigation found that former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke broke ethical rules during his time in office by misusing his position to benefit a development project in Montana, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
A report released by investigators Wednesday found that Zinke, a former Montana Congressman and candidate for Montana’s open Congressional seat, used a nonprofit he created in his hometown of Whitefish to continue working on a commercial development on the nonprofit’s land.
The Associated Press reported that investigators found this to be noncompliant with his agreement to discontinue his involvement with the nonprofit, the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation, when he took office in 2017 and Zinke later lied to an Interior Department ethics official who addressed this ethical breech. Investigators also found that Zinke ordered Interior Department staff to help with the development, called 95 Karrow.
Zinke’s campaign called the investigation “a political hit job” in a statement to NPR. investigators said attorneys for Zinke, his wife and the 95 Karrow developers declined to be interviewed. NPR reported that the campaign’s statement said conversations with Zinke or his staff weren’t included in the investigation.