Justice Department Takes Over Investigation into Zinke As Potential Criminal Charges Loom


Jonathon Berman, jonathon.berman@sierraclub.org

Washington, DC -- Today, the Washington Post is reporting that the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General has transferred one of its ongoing investigations into Ryan Zinke to the Department of Justice. According to the report, Inspector Generals only refer cases to the DOJ when it has determined that the subject of the investigations could face criminal charges.

This news comes after Zinke is already facing mounting pressure for his numerous scandals, including designating his wife as an agency volunteer to avoid paying for her travel, wasting $25,000 of taxpayer funds for security on a vacation, and failing to seek ethics’ officials approvals when taking campaign donors on a boat outing. Zinke also still faces scrutiny for possibly moving to fire the Interior’s Inspector General and replacing her with a former HUD political appointee.

Earlier this week, Politico reported that Zinke may be looking to leave the administration.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

“The evidence is mounting that Ryan Zinke has criminally abused his power to exploit taxpayer funds in order to afford the lavish lifestyle he desires while working to enrich his friends in the fossil fuel industry. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost. Ryan Zinke has done his best to emulate Scott Pruitt, now it’s time he finishes the impersonation and resigns.”


About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.