Ryan Zinke Taps Cousin Of Anti-Federal-Land Zealot For National Park Advisory Board
Ellis Ivory, a retired Utah homebuilder and second cousin of anti-federal-land state Rep. Ken Ivory (R), is among the 11 people Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has chosen to serve on a newly resurrected National Park System Advisory Board.
The new members of the volunteer panel were announced this week, just days after Zinke and the Interior Department hosted Ken Ivory and members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative nonprofit backed by Charles and David Koch that advocates handing over control of federal lands to states. Even the broad association between the Interior Department and the radical movement opposing federal land stewardship again raises questions about the seriousness of Zinke’s public pronouncements on the issue.
Ken Ivory, a leader of the pro-land-transfer movement, is a former head of the right-wing think tank Federalism in Action’s Free the Lands project, which has argued that getting public lands out of the federal government’s hands is “the only solution big enough to tackle” today’s economic challenges. In 2012 he introduced legislation demanding that nearly all federal lands in Utah ― some 30 million acres ― be turned over to the state. The bill was passed and signed into law, but the lands have remained under federal control.
Yet in the past he provided financial support to his cousin’s work. In 2012 he and his wife, Kathryn Ivory, made a $6,000 donation to a nonprofit called Where’s the Line, America? Foundation, according to documents HuffPost obtained from Campaign for Accountability, a watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Ken Ivory served as executive director of the group at the time of their contribution. The group focused on “educating the public and legislators about the proper role of State and Federal Government” through speaking opportunities and ALEC, according to a 2012 IRS tax return.
Ellis Ivory told HuffPost the donation was simply a gesture of support for a relative.
In 2015 the Campaign for Accountability petitioned Utah’s attorney general to investigate whether Ken Ivory committed fraud by using his position as a state lawmaker to solicit funds from county governments for his land transfer fight. He was cleared in the probe.