Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Zinke’s travels: Ski resort and Alaskan steakhouse

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has attended at least two additional political fundraisers while traveling for official business, including a weekend ski getaway less than three weeks after he was sworn in that donors paid up to $3,000 to attend, according to sources and documents reviewed by POLITICO. Zinke's previously undisclosed attendance at the events adds to scrutiny he is facing over his habit of mixing political activities with official business when traveling outside of Washington, D.C., and to questions over travel expenses incurred by members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. In addition to the fundraisers, Zinke has held at least a half-dozen other events with big donors or influential conservative organizations while on official trips. Zinke, a former Montana congressman who became secretary March 1, started his fundraising appearances even before attending a March 30 Virgin Islands Republican Party fundraiser in St. Croix that POLITICO reported last week, at which donors paid up to $5,000 per couple for a photo with him. The Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel, which is investigating Zinke's use of travel and political activities in office, has been asked by a watchdog group to look into his appearance there. In the first of the newly disclosed appearances, Zinke attended a mid-March fundraiser at a ski resort in Big Sky, Montana, organized by committees affiliated with Republican Sen. Steve Daines, according to two attendees who saw him there. And in May, Zinke briefly stopped by a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Don Young at a steakhouse in Anchorage, Alaska, a spokesman for Young's campaign told POLITICO...more

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