Wild Horse Hater Ryan “Dinky” Zinke Now Claims To Be A Born-Again Conservationist

by Todd Wilkinson as published on The Mountain Journal

“From the father of bloody horse slaughter comes yet another new angle used to confuse and confound the American people.  A true embarrassment to American values!” ~ R.T.


After angering millions of Americans for his brazen anti-environmental agenda, can the Interior Secretary win back the trust of citizens?

Dinky: “Trust me, those horses behind me would be finger licken good on your Memorial Day grill. I tried to get um in Montana 10 years ago and now I have the wild horses marked for dinner, stay tuned.”

Ryan Zinke did something recently he should have done the first week he took over the helm of the Interior Department in 2017 and began flying his own flag: meeting with a diverse array of American conservation leaders whose groups, in turn, represent tens of millions of people who care about environmental protection.

One person who was in the room told me: “It was just a meeting, nothing more. The Secretary doing a lot of smooth talking. Anyone who believes he’s a born-again conservationist is a fool.”

The person said that akin to when Zinke, a former Congressman from Montana, went through confirmation hearings to become Interior Secretary, he claimed he’d be emulating Theodore Roosevelt. “Instead,” the individual said, “the decisions he’s made have caused even some hook and bullet organizations to distance themselves from him.”

Zinke has his own personal agenda and we don’t yet know what it is.  Some have speculated he intends to run for governor in Montana or the U.S. senate or that he has positioned himself to pull in millions serving on the board of directors for maybe a fossil fuel or mining or chemical company after he leaves Washington D.C.

A person inside the Interior Department told me that Zinke finally realizes that his actions have ignited a backlash among conservationists he thought he held in the palm of his hand.

I’ve had an ongoing request to do a comprehensive interview with Zinke going back a year now.  When he was a Congressman he told me he’d be happy to do an interview any time. Now his young press secretary, Heather Swift, who possesses no real acumen for Western issues, said she “didn’t think it would be in the best interests of the Secretary to sit down for an in-depth interview.”

A couple of things: when I told a few former Interior press secretaries I know who have served under both Republican and Democrat Interior Secretaries of Swift’s attempts to control the press, they replied that Zinke and Ms. Swift are mistaken if they believe interviews are only granted to advance Zinke’s personal best interests.

He is obligated to answer tough questions about his stewardship of the people’s landscape—hundreds of millions of acres of public land under his authority—and which belong to all citizens. Further, U.S. taxpayers fund the salaries of Zinke and Swift, not a political party nor special interests who hold sway in the swamp.

To date, Zinke has, for the most part, only courted press opportunities with reporters whom he knows will not subject him to probing inquires.  I know many reporters nationwide who are also frustrated by Swift’s evasive behavior.

She has aggressively tried to deflect reporters eager to ask Zinke about his policies favoring, for example, the energy industry over the protection of finite things such as clean water and air, wildlife habitat and the fact that morale of federal land management agencies has gone into steep decline under Zinke’s command…(CONTINUED)

http://mountainjournal.org/zinke-claims-to-now-be-a-born-again-conservationist

Emails Show Interior Expected To Learn Nothing From Public Input On Bears Ears Review

By Chris D’Angelo as published on The Huffington Post

“Wouldn’t be much of a stretch to apply this same line of Neanderthal thinking to the public comment periods for Wild Horses & Burros either!” ~ R.T.


Chris D’Angelo/HuffPost ~ The pair of buttes for which Bears Ears National Monument is named. In December, President Donald Trump shrunk the 1.35 million-acre protected site by 85 percent.

WASHINGTON — In May 2017, a little more than a week after President Donald Trump signed a pair of unpopular executive orders threatening the future of 27 national monuments, the Interior Department announced it was giving the American public a chance to weigh in.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke boasted that the comment period “finally gives a voice to local communities and states,” parties the Trump administration claims past presidents ignored when granting protections to new monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

And after the comment periods closed in July, Zinke said he appreciated “everyone who took the time to log-on or write in and participate in our government,” and that the input would help inform his decisions.

But internal documents show that in the case of Bears Ears National Monument, the administration conducted its review assuming it had little, if anything, to learn; that it had all the information it needed to decide the fate of the Utah site.

Randal Bowman, a senior policy analyst at the Interior Department, led a May 31 webinar to train a dozen agency staffers on how to read and catalog public comments the agency fielded on its review of Bears Ears, a 1.35 million-acre monument the Obama administration established in late 2016. During the hour-long training, Bowman told the review team that because the Utah monument was so new and a management plan had not yet been adopted, it would be “virtually impossible” for a member of the public to submit information that hadn’t previously been considered.

“Essentially, barring a surprise, there is no new information that’s going to be submitted,” Bowman told staffers, according to a video of the event. A link to the webinar was included in an email released as part of a public records request.

When one member of the review team asked Bowman to clarify his previous comment, he said, “I can’t visualize what a new [piece of] information would be. But I’m not ruling it out.”

From the start, Trump and Zinke’s public criticisms suggested Bears Ears wouldn’t survive intact, and that the administration’s review and public comment period was mostly for show. At the April signing ceremony, Trump said the Bears Ears designation “should never have happened” and that he was going to free up the land to “tremendously positive things.” Still, the Interior Department maintained its review would be fair and thorough.

Bowman’s comments during the training, as well as subsequent internal emails, are likely to add to critics’ speculation that the outcome — at least for Bears Ears — was predetermined; that the administration was not really interested in what the general public had to say.

Bowman and the Interior Department did not respond to requests for comment.

In a report summary made public in August, Zinke acknowledged that the vast majority of the 2.8 million public comments his department received as part of its sweeping review favored maintaining national monuments. But he chalked up that one-sidedness as being the result of “a well-orchestrated national campaign organized by multiple organizations.”

The administrative review culminated with Trump traveling to Utah in December, where he announced he was slashing Bears Ears by 85 percent, opening the door for new mining, drilling and other development. Nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the largest land national monument in the country, was cut roughly in half. The rollback was the largest reduction of national monuments in history…(CONTINUED)

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/emails-bears-ears-national-monument-review-comment-period_us_5afd7e8fe4b06a3fb50e47f0

Raising the Flag on Ryan Zinke’s Corruption

The Wild Horse Hater charged with protecting our public lands is handing them over to fossil fuel companies

The media’s been swirling around the many scandals involving Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, and rightfully so. But there’s another scandalous member of Trump’s cabinet who’s bending ethical standards and attacking our environment: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Like Pruitt, Ryan Zinke is misusing taxpayer dollars, promoting industries he’s supposed to regulate, and remaining completely opaque when it comes to decision-making. He deserves as much media and congressional scrutiny as Pruitt.

The Interior Department is supposed to be the steward of our country’s “lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources,” according to its mission statement. But Zinke’s actions toward U.S. national parks and public lands show where his alliances truly rest: with the fossil fuel industry.

Though he’s tried to play himself as a serious outdoorsman — even as he’s incorrectly rigging a fly fishing rod or wearing a National Park Service hat backwards — Zinke has made clear his real mission is to drill and extract all over public lands.

He’s lifted a moratorium on leasing federal lands for coal mining, allowing the coal industry to exploit public resources while giving taxpayers pennies on the dollar. He’s weakened fracking safety standards for public lands. And he’s taken the first steps toward opening the sensitive coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

Zinke is risking our economy, ecosystems, and gateway communities around our parks with his unilateral decisions to put profit and pollution over public health.

What’s more, Zinke is also working with Trump on the largest rollback to national monument boundaries and declarations in U.S. history. He’s recommended essentially eliminating Utah’s beautiful Bears Ears National Monument, home to sacred sites and areas of tremendous cultural importance for at least five Native American tribes.

And if his attacks on the environment aren’t enough, Zinke also has a host of ethical problems — including questionable travel expenses with private jets and helicopter rides paid for with wildfire-fighting funding. In fact, there have been at least four internal investigations reviewing Zinke’s tenure at Interior.

He even tried to spend $139,000 in taxpayer money on doors for his office. And he forces staff to raise a special flag for him every time he enters the Interior Department building — seriously — and then take it down when he leaves.

More seriously, Zinke has falsely claimed to be a geologist at least 40 times, including in congressional testimony to support his environmental rollbacks.

Finally, Zinke has created a hostile environment in the workplace. He’s told staff that diversity isn’t important. He’s transferred women, Native Americans, blacks, and Latinos out of their jobs in an attempt to get them to quit. (And on his radio show in 2013, he supported the racist idea that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States.)

Ryan Zinke isn’t interested in what’s best for national parks and public lands. He should be removed, or he should step down immediately.

When he testifies before two congressional committees this month, I hope those members of Congress will hold him accountable. His decisions will have irreversible impacts, but it’s not too late to try and clean up the mess he’s already made.

A timeline of scandals and ethical shortfalls at Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department

by EVLONDO COOPER as published on MediaMatters.org

The man that wanted to bring horse slaughter to Montana and the U.S. has a growing list of further indiscretions developing

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is being investigated for multiple scandals involving potential Hatch Act violations, excessive travel expenditures, and apparent coziness with industries he’s entrusted to regulate. Under his leadership, the Department of Interior (DOI) has been credibly accused of doing the bidding of dirty energy lobbyists, misappropriating government resources, discriminating against Native American employees, and censoring scientific reports. Even in an administration that may be the most unethical in modern history, Zinke’s corruption and managerial ineptness stand out.

Journalists have been dogged in documenting questionable ethical behavior at DOI during Zinke’s 14 months at the head of the department. The following is an overview of original reporting on scandals and controversies at Zinke’s DOI:

July 26, 2017, Anchorage Daily News: Zinke threatened to pull support for projects in Alaska after Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted “no” on Obamacare repeal. On July 26, Zinke called both of Alaska’s senators, Lisa Murkowski (R) and Dan Sullivan (R), to inform them that Murkowski’s vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act jeopardized administration support for projects in Alaska, including expanding oil drilling. Sullivan called Zinke’s message “troubling,” and Murkowski told E&E News, “It was a difficult call.” The DOI’s inspector general opened an investigation into the incident, then dropped it in late August. The Government Accountability Office is still looking into the matter, and it’s drafting a legal opinion on whether Zinke threatened the senators, CNN reported this April.

September 28, 2017, Politico/Wash. Post: Zinke gave a speech to a hockey team owned by a campaign donor, then chartered a $12,000 flight home. Zinke traveled to Las Vegas on June 26 to give a motivational speech to a hockey team at the behest of team owner Bill Foley. After the speech, Zinke flew on a charter flight that cost taxpayers over $12,000 to an airport near his Montana home, aboard a plane owned by oil and gas executives. An inspector general report released on April 16, 2018, found that Zinke and his aides failed to relay important details about the trip to ethics officers, including Foley’s role as one of Zinke’s largest campaign contributors and the fact that the speech was unrelated to Zinke’s work as interior secretary. According to Politico, Foley donated $7,800 to Zinke’s 2014 congressional campaign, while employees and political action committees associated with his financial services company donated another $166,860. The inspector general also found that the $12,000 charter flight “could have been avoided.” The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating whether Zinke’s speech violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits employees of the executive branch from engaging in partisan politics.

October 5, 2017, Politico: Zinke’s participation in a Republican fundraiser in the Virgin Islands possibly violated the Hatch Act. During what DOI labeled an official trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Zinke attended a fundraiser for the Virgin Islands Republican Party on April 1, 2017. Donors paid up to $5,000 per couple for a picture with him. After concerns were raised, the Virgin Islands Republican Party reimbursed taxpayers for the trip. But Zinke’s prominence at the political fundraiser still may have violated the Hatch Act according to complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit, government watchdog organization.

November 20, 2017, Politico: Zinke’s wife used Interior staff and resources to coordinate her travel with her husband’s. Lola Zinke relied on DOI staff to ensure her travel arrangements allowed her to accompany the interior secretary during some of his official events and trips, including ones to California, Alaska, Norway, and Greenland. “While the department says Lola Zinke paid her own way, the records show Interior used staff time to coordinate some of her activities while traveling with her husband,” Politico reported. One ethics expert called that “an ethically gray area.” Some ethics watchdogs are also concerned that Lola Zinke is using her access to high-level events to further her own political career; she is campaign chair for a Republican Senate candidate and has worked on the Trump campaign and transition teams. The DOI’s inspector general tried to investigate whether these actions and other travel arrangements by Ryan Zinke constituted an abuse or misuse of government resources, but the investigation was stymied “by absent or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips and a review process that failed to include proper documentation and accountability,” according to a memo released on November 15.

December 7, 2017, Politico: Zinke spent $14,000 on helicopter rides so he could attend a swearing-in and ride horses with Vice President Mike Pence. Zinke put taxpayers on the hook for a pair of helicopter trips that blurred the line between his professional and personal obligations. On June 21, he attended the swearing-in of his congressional replacement, Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), then took an $8,000 helicopter ride to an emergency management exercise in West Virginia. In July, Zinke took a $6,250 round-trip helicopter flight from Washington, D.C., to Yorktown, VA, to guarantee he was back in time to go horseback riding with Pence and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). The inspector general’s office declined to confirm an investigation into these specific helicopter rides, but spokesperson Nancy DiPaolo told CNN on December 8, “We are taking a comprehensive look at the secretary’s travel since he took office.”

December 29, 2017, Newsweek: Zinke spent almost $40,000 in wildfire preparedness funds for a helicopter tour of Nevada. Days after firefighters managed to largely contain the Whittier Fire in California, Zinke used nearly $40,000 from wildfire preparedness funds to pay for a helicopter tour of Nevada on July 30 that did not include any visits to fire zones. DOI initially told Newsweek the tour was “in full compliance of all federal regulations.” But after Newsweek provided Interior officials with documentation showing the tour was paid for with funds “earmarked for such uses as worker pay and to purchase equipment,” DOI admitted the helicopter tour “was charged to the account in error” and said it would pay for the ride from “a more appropriate account.”

January 22, 2018, HuffPost: Zinke failed to disclose his shares in a firearms company and signed orders that could have benefitted the firearms industry. As nominee for interior secretary, Zinke neglected to inform the Office of Government Ethics that he retained 1,000 shares in PROOF Research, a rifle and weapons-parts manufacturer founded in Zinke’s hometown. Cabinet appointees are required to disclose all assets worth $1,000 or more. Although there is some dispute about the value of Zinke’s shares, HuffPost notes that Zinke’s long relationship with the company may have given it special access at Interior. Zinke provided consulting services to PROOF in 2011-12. As interior secretary, he met with PROOF CEO Larry Murphy and a company lobbyist about a month after he was confirmed. Zinke also enacted policy changes — such as rescinding the ban on lead ammunition and expanding hunting access at wildlife refuges — that might have benefitted the firearms industry.

February 1, 2018, Politico: Interior appeared to cave to pressure from MGM to stonewall a casino proposal backed by two Native American tribes. The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes received indications from Interior officials last May that the department would clear the way for the tribes to build a casino in Connecticut, about 12 miles from MGM Resorts International’s nearly $1 billion casino complex in Massachusetts. But MGM launched an aggressive lobbying campaign to convince Interior’s political appointees to change course, including outreach to Zinke via multiple meetings and phone calls with two Nevada Republican lawmakers closely allied with MGM. MGM lobbyists were invited by Zinke for a social visit two weeks before the agency was to decide on the tribes’ request. MGM lobbyists also met with Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, whose former firm also lobbies for MGM. Bernhardt signed an ethics agreement barring him from “participating in matters involving his former employer,” according to a recent ThinkProgress story. On September 15, DOI informed the tribes that it would delay its decision, even though federal law requires it to decide yes or no within 45 days. Records obtained by Politico show that “career staffers were circulating what they labeled ‘approval’ letters just 48 hours before their political bosses reversed course and refused to either OK or reject the tribes’ application.” The DOI’s inspector general has opened an investigation into the incident.

March 9, 2018, AP: Interior planned to spend nearly $139,000 to upgrade Zinke’s office doors. Interior officials approved a contract to renovate “three sets of double doors in the secretary’s office, including two doors that open onto a corner balcony with a spectacular view of the Washington Monument and the National Mall,” The Associated Press reported. Though Zinke scoffed at questions about the excessive price of the doors renovation during a Senate hearing on March 13, two days later he told the House Committee on Natural Resources that he negotiated the price down to $75,000. Despite this, House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) sent Zinke a letter on March 22 asking for a briefing “on the need to replace the doors and provide details on the acquisition process, bidding and receipts,” per Reuters.

March 11, 2018, USA Today: Zinke’s trip to Pennsylvania to announce $56 million in grants during a close campaign may have violated the Hatch Act. Toward the end of a tight campaign for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district between Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone, Zinke went to nearby East Bethlehem to announce $56 million in grants to clean up abandoned mining sites in the area. The entire event, “had the feel of a hastily arranged news conference/town hall meeting/political opportunity,” according to the local Observer-Reporter. While Saccone was among the politicians present, his challenger did not attend. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating whether Zinke’s trip was designed to benefit Saccone politically.

March 15, 2018, AP: Zinke stacks wildlife-trade advisory board with trophy hunters. Zinke appointed trophy hunters, including some with direct ties to the Trump family, to an advisory board tasked with rewriting federal rules to allow the importation of body parts from slain African elephants, lions, and rhinos. The Associated Press reported, “A coalition of more than 20 environmental and animal welfare groups objected that the one-sided makeup of the council could violate the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires government boards to be balanced in terms of points of view and not improperly influenced by special interests.” Most board members belong to hunting clubs or the National Rifle Association, and one member co-owns a private hunting reserve with Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. The Trump administration officially lifted a ban on importing elephant parts from Zimbabwe and Zambia on March 1.

March 21, 2018, Politico: Zinke had a security detail during his two-week vacation in Greece and Turkey. Ryan and Lola Zinke’s two-week vacation in Greece and Turkey to celebrate their 25-year wedding anniversary also included a security detail, according to records obtained by Politico. Besides these bare facts, the public still does not know important details about this arrangement including “exactly how many security personnel accompanied the couple, who paid for them, how much they cost or whether they traveled with Zinke and his wife, Lola, for the entire trip,” Politico reported.

March 27, 2018, Politico: Florida’s offshore drilling exemption may have been intended to benefit Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate campaign. On January 4, 2018, Zinke announced a controversial proposal to allow offshore drilling in many new coastal areas, including off the coasts of Florida. Five days later, Zinke exempted Florida from the expanded drilling after a supposedly spur-of-the-moment encounter in the Tallahassee airport with Florida Gov. Rick Scott. But records reviewed by Politico in March “showed that top officials from the offices of both Scott and the Interior secretary were in regular contact for several days leading up to the sudden announcement, contradicting the supposed spontaneous event that portrayed Scott as protecting Florida’s environment.” According to The Washington Post, “The whole episode seems to have been designed to demonstrate Mr. Scott’s power and influence, by having him appear to summon the interior secretary to his state and bring him to heel in an afternoon.” Scott announced his Senate candidacy on April 9, 2018. The next day, CNN reported the U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating whether Zinke’s Florida announcement violated the Hatch Act.

March 28, 2018, TPM: Zinke’s mass reassignment of career Interior employees may have violated federal anti-discrimination laws. Last July, Zinke initiated the reassignment of 35 Senior Executive Service members at DOI, of which 27 were ultimately transferred. Many were told to “either accept a new placement on the other side of the country or in a role unrelated to their background, or leave the agency,” according to Talking Points Memo. The DOI’s inspector general concluded the reassignments occurred “without a written plan or clear criteria, and without consulting with the departmental leadership,” which created the perception that staff were reassigned for “political or punitive reasons.” Because a third of those reassigned are Native American, DOI may have violated federal anti-discrimination laws, as well as its own Indian Preference rules, as TPM later reported. Zinke has reportedly told senior staff that diversity is not important. After a congressional hearing in March, he was also accused of racial insensitivity for responding “Oh, konnichiwa” to Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) after she shared the experience of two of her grandfathers who were held in internment camps during World War II.

April 6, 2018, Reveal: National Park Service deletes climate change from months-delayed report on sea-level rise. “National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans’ role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge,” according to an investigation conducted by The Center for Investigative Reporting and published on its Reveal website. The Department of Interior oversees the National Parks Service. Cat Hawkins, the head of the National Park Service’s climate change response program, made the deletions, in possible violation of Interior rules prohibiting political appointees from influencing scientific and scholarly activities. The report was also delayed for 10 months, which hindered park managers’ ability to access the latest research about how to mitigate the effects of extreme weather and sea-level rise on their parks. Zinke told the House Committee on Natural Resources in March, “I didn’t change a paragraph — a comma — in any document and I never would.” But Senate and House Democrats have called for DOI’s inspector general to investigate the matter in light of Reveal’s reporting.

April 16, 2018, HuffPost: Oil industry rep uses perch on DOI advisory group to push “wish list” of regulatory rollbacks. Under Zinke, advisory groups at DOI have been packed with industry representatives who want looser regulations. Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance (WEA), a lobbying group that represents 300 oil and gas companies chairs one such group, which is tasked with recommending how Zinke should manage federal lands for fossil fuel development. The group’s recommendations, which included regulatory rollbacks that had been on WEA’s wish list for years, was initially drafted by Tripp Parks, WEA’s head of government affairs. According to HuffPost, “A document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that Parks created the draft recommendations one day before Sgamma circulated them to committee members overseeing the working group.” As the Sierra Club’s legal director told HuffPost, “It’s a very clear instance of regulatory capture.”

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/05/07/A-timeline-of-scandals-and-ethical-shortfalls-at-Ryan-Zinkes-Interior-Department/220123

Western Values Project to Pruitt and EPA: Help us hold Interior accountable

by as published on Western Values Project

Watchdog group files FOIA request to learn what the EPA knows about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

After The Atlantic reported that embattled Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s communications team has been pushing negative stories attacking embattled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Western Values Project (WVP) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the EPA to find out what they know about Secretary Zinke.

For more than a year, the Montana-based Western Values Project has filed various FOIA requests with the Department of Interior, published a comprehensive research site on the Department at https://departmentofinfluence.org/ and released numerous reports on the Interior Department’s troubling conduct that has undermined the nation’s public lands.

In response to The Atlantic story, Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger released the following statement:

We have a simple request of Administrator Pruitt: make public all the material your team has been pushing on Secretary Zinke. The public has a right to know what EPA officials are saying behind closed doors to reporters about their ethically-challenged colleagues in the cabinet. Western Values Project aims to hold policymakers to account, and we appreciate the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency helping expose any wrongdoing that Secretary Zinke’s been involved in.”

Interior Secretary Zinke wants to defund a vital land conservation program he supposedly supports

by Greg Zimmerman as published on Westwise

The secretary proposes draconian cuts to the Land & Water Conservation Fund

Whitefish Lake, Montana. LWCF funds helped secure the water supply in Ryan Zinke’s adopted hometown. Photo: Trust for Public Land via Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has turned his back on Montana, a state he represented in Congress until last year. The latest example is his proposed 2019 Interior Department budget, where the secretary proposes eliminating virtually all funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The premise of LWCF is simple: the United States invests a small portion (up to $900 million annually) of the revenue generated from offshore oil drilling into land conservation, outdoor recreation, and public lands access.

For any good politician from Montana, LWCF is like motherhood and apple pie. It’s one of those rare bipartisan programs that works because its impacts are widely felt by anyone who values protecting and enhancing access for hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping on America’s public lands. And in Montana, that’s virtually everyone.

Sen. Steve Daines, (R-MT):

“LWCF was created in the spirit of reinvesting the revenues from the sale of our national resources into future resources for all Americans — asset for asset.”

Sen. Jon Tester, (D-MT):

“I applaud every effort to increase recreational opportunities for Montanans and this money will go a long way towards doing that. LWCF is a critical boost to Montana’s economy, our western way of life, and our outdoor heritage.”

Rep. Greg Gianforte, (R-MT):

“I will also fight for the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help preserve and expand access for Montanans to hunt, fish, and recreate on public lands.”

Gov. Steve Bullock, (D-MT):

“[LWCF] has ensured that generations of Montanans had access to public lands and waterways that otherwise would be locked up. Montanans demand more from Washington.”

In today’s overheated political environment, you’d be hard-pressed to find a program with stronger and more intense bipartisan support than LWCF. But Interior Secretary Zinke — who is known to harbor future political aspirations in Montana — apparently missed the memo. He’s put forward a budget proposal that effectively zeroes out LWCF.

If Congress was to implement Secretary Zinke’s proposal — an improbability given the broad, bipartisan support for LWCF — important conservation projects would go unfunded, recreation areas could be lost to subdivisions, trophy homes could be built inside national parks like Zion and Glacier, and funds won’t be available to open up new hunting and fishing access on public lands. What’s more, Secretary Zinke’s proposal would leave states and local communities in the lurch, taking away a critical source of money for local recreation facilities, state parks, working forests, and wildlife protection programs…(CONTINUED)

View story at Medium.com

His Former Commander Exposes Wild Horse Hater Ryan “Dinky” Zinke’s Navy SEAL Career and Defective “Moral Make-up”

By Don Progreba as published in The Montana Post on MAY 30th 2014

“Another installment in the Dinky Zinke Chronicles.  This was published in 2014 and points to Dinky Zinke being a scum-ball and stealing from the American Tax Payers to go home and visit Mommy YEARS AGO.  It appears that not a damn thing has changed and he obviously did not learn any lessons.  If Capt Bailey only knew, back then, how bad things would get.

Like the other horse eaters before him, Dinky needs to go.  Is ANYONE in the Administration listening out there?!?!?” ~ R.T.


“You gonna fly for FREE, baby!!!”

There have long been rumors about Senator Ryan Zinke’s tendency to both exaggerate his role as a Navy SEAL and to underplay the serious ethical violations that derailed his career, but given the privacy afforded those records, it’s always been difficult to detail the truth about Zinke’s career in the military.

Captain Larry Bailey, who commanded Zinke while he was in his SEAL class, recently wrote a letter detailing some of the problems with Zinke’s military career. What Bailey argues is what many of us who have watched Zinke’s career have also seen: “he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level.”

In short, Bailey argues that Zinke misused Navy funds for personal travel and has inflated the importance of his role in Navy SEAL Team Six. Bailey writes, “He was never a commanding officer and was bypassed for possible consideration for promotion to captain as the result of his travel transgressions.”

No one here has questioned the value of Senator Zinke’s service to his nation in the military, but his tendency to inflate his own role and promote himself at the expense of the truth and even basic decency, has been the defining element of his political career.

Captain Bailey’s letter follows:

It is most unpleasant to write these words, as I have long considered myself a friend of Ryan Zinke.  In fact, he was in the first Basic UDT/SEAL (BUD/S) class to graduate under my command in 1985.  I remember him well and thought that he would have a stellar career.

He did have such a career until he showed a defect in his moral make-up, and the Left is already well aware of what he did, although perhaps not in so much detail as I go into.  They will, however, before the general election, so I have decided to anticipate them by providing this statement.

This information was provided to me by sources personally known to me and to those who were directly involved in the actions involving Ryan.

What did he do?  Simple—he used Navy (taxpayer) travel funds to make multiple trips from Norfolk, VA, to his home in MT, ostensibly to scout out training sites for his squadron.  The truth was that he went to work on some family property and, apparently, on one occasion, took two or three other Navy SEALs with him.

These trips not only involved airfare, but they also involved per diem and personal use of Navy time.  To his credit, Ryan, when confronted with his transgressions, admitted his culpability and paid back the funds he had expended.

Ryan’s moral failings, in my opinion, do not end with his being separated from his SEAL team over the travel scandal.  His political career has some questionable acts associated with it, to include his creation (with some heavy-hitting New York and Boston lawyers and PR people) of Special Operations for America (SOFA), a Political Action Committee, back in early 2012.  At that time, I sought out Ryan to work with me in establishing an umbrella organization of Special Operations Forces from all the services.

After looking carefully at the situation in which he was involved, I just didn’t feel comfortable getting hooked up with what was clearly going to be a high-donor operation and possibly geared to Ryan’s future political benefit.  That has turned out to be the case, as evinced by the fact that, almost immediately after Ryan declared his candidacy for the US House, he resigned as SOFA’s chairman and was given a grant from the very Political Action Committee he established.  That, to me, is not “conflict of interest;” it is “coincidence of interest.”

The account of what I have read about SOFA having its headquarters in property owned by the Zinke family that is across the street from the Zinke family home, further validates the “coincidence of interest” hypothesis.

As a retired Navy SEAL officer, I also take exception to the looseness with which Ryan described his Navy career. Depending on which bio one reads, he was “a” or “the” commander in a certain high-capability Navy SEAL Team. He was never a commanding officer and was bypassed for possible consideration for promotion to captain as the result of his travel transgressions.

He also has stated that former Cong. Allen West has endorsed his candidacy. I spoke with Colonel West personally and learned that, while he spoke kind words about Ryan, he did not endorse him. Subsequent to my conversation with him, Colonel West has made clear that that was not the case and will not be the case during the primary.

Having seen a heavily redacted copy of Ryan’s DD-214, which is a summary of his military career, I noted that, unlike his claim to have received two Bronze Stars for combat, he actually received them for meritorious service. Neither had the Combat “V” for Valor, which would have been the case had he earned the awards for combat.

The statement by a retired Navy SEAL Master Chief sums up the essence of Ryan’s character. The man told me personally that Ryan is PNG (persona non grata) at his old SEAL team, primarily for the misleading statements he has made about his rank and importance at that “special” team. That is a sad commentary on a man who had all the potential in the world and has, instead of coming clean about himself and his mistakes, tries to re-write his personal history in order to achieve political office.

I am certain that Ryan would have acquitted himself well if he had led his men in actual combat instead of being a theater manager of the combat units assigned to him.

I am sure that Ryan will do his best to rebut these serious allegations. He can prove me wrong by making his unredacted DD-214 available for public examination. I would like nothing better than to have been shown that I was wrong, but that won’t happen.

Why do I, a transplanted Texan living in NC, want to rupture more than one friendship over Ryan Zinke’s candidacy for the US House of Representatives? Simple—Ryan’s ambitions will not stop here. He has shown by his dissimulation of facts regarding his career that he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level—in his case, the US Senate. I cannot abide that prospect, because THEN he is representing ME and every citizen of this land as a member of one of the world’s most prestigious deliberative bodies.

Larry Bailey

CAPT (SEAL), USN (Ret.)

Chocowinity, NC

https://themontanapost.com/2014/05/30/his-former-commander-exposes-ryan-zinkes-navy-seal-career-and-defective-moral-make-up/comment-page-1/