Friday, June 22, 2018

Emails Raise Questions About Interior Secretary Zinke's Link With Oil Executive

Ranking U.S. House Democrats are calling for an ethics investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They want to know more about a land deal between Zinke's family foundation and a real estate project with ties to the oil and gas giant Halliburton. Earlier this week, Politico first broke the story on a possibly unethical relationship between Zinke's family foundation and a proposed real estate development in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana. Whether or not this relationship was unethical may hinge on whether Zinke was still involved in the deal after his resignation from the family foundation and while he was serving as Secretary of the Interior. The Mountain West News Bureau unearthed emails suggesting he was still involved. Zinke said he resigned from the foundation after becoming interior secretary and now it's managed by his wife, Lola Zinke Newly-surfaced emails are raising questions about that timing. They show Zinke was still in touch with 95 Karrow's chief project developer, Casey Malmquist, six months after becoming interior secretary and six months after he resigned from the foundation. In those emails to Zinke from Malmquist, the developer told Zinke, "our development project and your park plan are an absolute grand slam." The emails from Malmquist also include detailed maps of the proposed development. According to Holman, that's a smoking gun: "What this email suggests is that Ryan Zinke was not removed from negotiations of the project," he says. "Instead we are seeing the 95 Karrow project developers negotiating directly with Ryan Zinke.";;;MORE

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