Horse News

Wild Horse Hater Zinke Socialized with Private Developers On the Taxpayer Dime While His Wife Finagled Sweetheart Land Deal

by as published on Western Values Project

“…he’s abusing this position to help his big oil buddies to enrich himself and his family at the expense of taxpayers…”

The ranking member Rep. Raul Grijalva of the House Natural Resources Committee called on Interior’s Office of Inspector General to investigate Secretary Ryan Zinke after released documents revealed that last summer Secretary Zinke had a meeting in his official office and gave a Lincoln Memorial tour to private developers while the developers were engaged in a land deal with Secretary Zinke’s wife in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana that stood to enrich Secretary Zinke’s family. One of the developers in attendance was the chairman of Halliburton, an oil and gas multinational corporation that drills on the public lands Zinke oversees as Interior Secretary.

Following this breaking news, Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger released the following statement calling for an investigation into scandal-plagued Secretary Zinke:

“Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire and the only way to find out for sure is an independent investigation. Secretary Zinke is a steward of our public lands, and if he’s abusing this position to help his big oil buddies to enrich himself and his family at the expense of taxpayers, he needs to be held accountable.”

Based on the documents released, it appears, Secretary Zinke used his public office and government resources to butter up property developers as they were working on a sweetheart land deal in his hometown that he stands to gain from. Just weeks after this secret rendezvous, the developers showered him with praise, with one sending him an email calling their relationship ‘an absolute grand slam.’

10 replies »

  1. “Made In America”: Ryan Zinke’s New Committee With Myriad Hidden Agendas (excerpts)
    by Katie Christiansen

    I should not have been surprised by the recent news that U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke has again failed us.

    An official press release from the Department of Interior announced the names of the 15 inaugural members to Zinke’s “Made in America” Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee. The committee was founded to advise on “expand[ing] access to and improving infrastructure on public lands and waterways” through “public-private partnerships.”

    Our public lands carry in their mission a conservation directive.
    The National ParkService for example, is required by law to conserve its lands unimpaired.
    The Bureau of Land Management’s multiple use mandate insists on “sustain[ing] the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands.”
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, managers of our National Wildlife Refuges, was founded to “conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats.”

    Public lands are both for the people and for protection of land and wildlife. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, such mandates are crucial and they do not exist to accommodate the whims of political fiat.

    So who made Zinke’s dream team?

    Zinke selected 15 individuals to serve on his committee. Thirteen are men. Fourteen are white. Not exactly a bastion of diversity. Six represent the “hospitality industry,” three of whom have notable conflicts of interest: two are responsible for current concessionaire contracts with the National Park Service (Jeremy Jacobs– Delaware North, Bruce Fears– Aramark Leisure), and the other is a longtime concessionaire advocate (Derrick Crandell– National Park Hospitality Association).

    Five of the fifteen are gear manufacturers, retailers, and advocates from the shooting sports, fishing, and/or boating industries. Three are in the business of RVs and motorsports. One member’s work has focused on privatizing the public services of state wildlife agencies. And one “Made in America” member lives in Canada.

    When considering the dual mandate of conserving rare remaining wildlands and providing for use and access, is this, to use a favorite term of the Trump Administration, “balanced?”

    Are these individuals truly the “best and brightest” for the task of addressing the complex issues of access and infrastructure in the context of conservation for our public lands? Can we trust them to advise in the public interest?

    I struggle with the reality of our moment in time, when a given day’s news headlines often evoke anger, heartbreak, sadness, or frustration. Our planning for the future is happening in isolation from pondering larger macro trends.

    Did you know that in March we lost the last male Northern white rhino on earth?

    This constant deluge of despair has regrettably raised the threshold for what grabs my attention and concern. It’s not apathy. It’s survival.

    To be clear, this committee has been tasked to privatize aspects of our public lands in the implicit interest of economic gain for specific individuals and industries.

    Again, this news should not be surprising. I could have – maybe should have – let it pass with the day’s setting sun.

    But it irked me. That the person in charge of caretaking our birthright – our public lands – does not comprehend the urgency of this moment. That he continues to make way for special interests at the destruction of our heritage, the lives and well-being of others, and what is in the common interest.

    I won’t tire for our public lands. Have you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is so very well said and unfortunately so very true and so very sad that our beautiful America is being sold. Thank you for sharing it with us, Louie.

      This brings to mind this example of bought-and-paid-for corruption:
      Let’s face it … the only persons that have worked for 47 plus years for the extinction of wild horses and burros are those with a financial interest. This has been and continues to be unacceptable, illegal and the American citizens are disgusted at the “sell-out” of our lands and resources by the USFS and the BLM agencies that are responsible to PROTECT them.


  2. I do not understand why this job always goes to someone who screws the people and the animals it is supposed to help. Get someone in the position who is going to be on the side of the citizens instead of the corporate end. No Cattle or Sheep grazing on public land, take care of the Wild Mustangs & Burros, parks, monuments and other state business. They seem to line the pockets of those who are appointed to the detriment of the job of protecting what belongs to the people!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The crime and corruption is unbeliebable! While our Wild Horses and Burros langewish in the heat, this Jerk is making deals and side bars to destroy our public lands and its animals! And they wonder why people take matters into their own hands! We have NO protection in this country from anyone! Our illustrious Congressional members are MIA! Just disgusting! And this border thing abomidiable!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never remember anything like this obvious corruption – not even in the Nixon era! Not much satisfaction, but I do believe numnuts got a bit carried away with his latest mess. And yet his R. followers STILL havent pulled their heads from wherever they have them stuck!

      Liked by 1 person


    Your Latest Zinke Incompetent or Corrupt? Update

    While it’s a relief to know that Zinke’s incompetence and impatience make undermine his efforts to damage public lands and destroy the environment, it’s hardly a positive to have a Secretary of the Interior making decisions without regard to science, environmental impact statements, or even basic fact-finding.

    With Zinke, though, it’s never just incompetence. Politico reported yesterday that Zinke’s Interior Department has delayed plans to allow an expansion of an Indian-owned casino after repeated meetings with lobbyists for MGM and their friends in Congress:

    It’s not as if anyone should be surprised by Zinke’s reckless, self-aggrandizing, corrupt turn at Interior. He’s shown himself to little more than a corrupt opportunist willing to do and say almost anything to get himself in the public eye, consequences be damned. One day this will all catch up with him, and the fall will be a spectacular sight to behold.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From POLITICO

    FEC increases scrutiny of Zinke’s former PAC

    The Federal Election Commission is asking a leadership PAC previously affiliated with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to account for more than $600,000 of previously unreported contributions from the first six months of 2017.
    For most of the period in question, the committee, SEAL PAC, was overseen by Vincent DeVito, who is now a top aide to Zinke at the Interior Department, and this is the second time federal regulators have looked into discrepancies during his tenure.


  6. This could make the Teapot Dome scandal look like a sideshow

    Bought Off by Big Oil

    The scandal badly soiled the administration of Harding.

    The granddaddy of modern corruption cases and its toll on the ’20s White House.

    Big business. Influence peddling. Exploitation of natural resources. These hallmarks of political corruption have tarnished American government for decades. But in the modern era, political scandal has virtually no peer in the affair that grew out of a Wyoming oil field in the early 1920s. The Teapot Dome scandal takes its name from a U.S. Navy oil reserve distinguished by a rock formation that looked like a teapot. Beneath it were petroleum deposits potentially worth several hundred million dollars. Oil interests had helped elect the ill-equipped Warren G. Harding to the presidency, and in return, Harding installed friends of the industry in his cabinet.


  7. Increasing offshore leases on a grand scale, meanwhile gutting our public lands forever:

    You could almost hear the Montana Democrat’s frustration: Sen. John Tester could not believe it when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, once Montana’s sole congressman, proposed a paltry $8.1 million budget for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is entitled by law to some $900 million from off-shore oil leases. “Public lands is a Western thing,” said Tester. “We’ve got to have an advocate in the administration — that’s you. … Whoa, come on, $8.1 million? … Are there no projects nationwide? Because these ecosystems are not going to be around in 20 years.”


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