WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Accountable.US released the following statement responding to a new Inspector General report that raises serious ethical and legal questions about Ryan Zinke’s time as Interior Secretary in the Trump administration:

The inspector general has raised several serious ethical and legal questions about Ryan Zinke’s conduct as Interior Secretary during the Trump administration. It’s time for Congress and the Justice Department to make him answer."

Kyle Herrig, president of government watchdog Accountable.US


  • Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Was The Subject Of An Inspector General Investigation After He Allegedly Colluded With The Chairman Of Halliburton. “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made no secret of his dream of opening a microbrewery in his hometown of Whitefish. Now, the department’s inspector general will be asking whether he colluded to have the chairman of Halliburton, one of the leading companies with business before the department, build him one.” [Politico, 08/02/18]

  • Zinke Had Allegedly Used His Office To Set Up A ‘Nest’ For Post-Government Life. “The Interior Department IG’s office announced in late July that it is investigating Zinke’s dealings with Lesar, a purview that ethics specialists say will include questions about the brewery. Ethics rules bar officials from using their official contacts to set up ‘nests’ for their post-government lives, and the microbrewery was a focus of both the ethics watchdogs and the House Democrats who requested the investigation after POLITICO first reported on Zinke’s links to Lesar.” [Politico, 08/02/18]

  • As Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke was responsible for overseeing decisions on oil and gas exploration on public lands that could directly benefit oil and gas multinational corporation Halliburton. [Politico, 06/19/18]

  • Zinke Had Been Planning To Open A Brewery In Whitefish Since 2012. “Following an outcry from neighbors, Ryan Zinke shelved his plans to build a microbrewery and bed and breakfast along West Second Street. Concerned neighbors submitted a signed petition to the city, protesting an “alteration of zoning regulations” and requiring a two-thirds city council vote to approve the project. City planning staff had also cited concerns and noted that the planning board altered findings of fact in its recommendation for approval.” [Flathead Beacon, 12/09/12]

  • Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke And His Spouse Lola Controlled A Foundation That Pledged To Contribute A Parking Lot For A Real Estate Project Funded By Halliburton Chairman David Lesar. “A foundation established by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and headed by his wife is playing a key role in a real-estate deal backed by the chairman of Halliburton, the oil-services giant that stands to benefit from any of the Interior Department’s decisions to open public lands for oil exploration or change standards for drilling. A group funded by David Lesar, the Halliburton chairman, is planning a large commercial development on a former industrial site near the center of the Zinkes’ hometown of Whitefish, a resort area that has grown increasingly popular with wealthy tourists. The development would include a hotel and retail shops. There also would be a microbrewery — a business first proposed in 2012 by Ryan Zinke and for which he lobbied town officials for half a decade.” [Politico, 06/19/18]

  • Lola Zinke Pledged In Writing To Contribute Land For A Commercial Parking Lot From What The Zinkes Had Managed As “a Veterans Peace Park.” “Meanwhile, a foundation created by Ryan Zinke is providing crucial assistance. Lola Zinke pledged in writing to allow the Lesar-backed developer to build a parking lot for the project on land that was donated to the foundation to create a Veterans Peace Park for citizens of Whitefish. The 14-acre plot, which has not been significantly developed as a park, is still owned by the foundation. Lola Zinke is its president, a role her husband gave up when he became interior secretary.” [Politico, 06/19/18]
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