Ryan Zinke’s trip to Pennsylvania may have violated the Hatch Act

By: Mark Hand, ThinkProgress, March 13, 2018

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s visit to a small town south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, less than three weeks before a special election, is drawing scrutiny to determine whether the official trip was really an opportunity to throw his support behind the Republican hoping to fill the open congressional seat.

Several politicians were on hand for the February event in East Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, reportedly organized to announce how much funding Pennsylvania will receive in abandoned mine grant funding. The most prominent politician on hand was Rick Saccone, a Republican candidate for Congress who has received strong support from President Donald Trump.

Earlier in his tenure as Interior secretary, the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit government watchdog group, was among the groups that requested the Interior’s Office of Inspector General look into whether Zinke violated the Hatch Act and conflict-of-interest laws by making the trip.

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