Interior watchdog opens investigation into Zinke’s travel

By: Ben Lefebvre, Politico, October 2, 2017

The Interior Department’s inspector general’s office has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s use of taxpayer-funded charter planes, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The watchdog has “received numerous complaints” and launched its investigation late last week, said Nancy K. DiPaolo, spokeswoman for Interior’s Office of the Inspector General.

Zinke is one of several members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to face questions over his expensive travel, along with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and former HHS Secretary Tom Price, who resigned Friday.

The secretary has flown on government-owned or -chartered aircraft several times this year, including one $12,000 trip from Las Vegas to an airport near his hometown in Montana and another trip in the Caribbean, as POLITICO reported last week.

A watchdog group, the Campaign for Accountability, was among those who asked Interior’s IG to investigate. The group said Zinke’s Vegas speech “seems to be a special favor provided to a major political supporter of both Sec. Zinke and the president at taxpayer expense.”

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