Scandals Pile up for Interior Secretary Zinke

by Rebecca Worby as published on HCN.org

“This article does a very good job of chronicling the current and ever growing list of  ‘Dinkie’ Zinke’s indiscretions and questionable behavior but it falls short of describing his checkered and horse hating past.  We will bring information forward that provide verification that Dinkie does not only hold disdain in his heart for the American tax payer but also harbors a sick blood-lust for our equine companions be they domestic or wild.  He needs to be removed from his position before he forever damages the beauty of our public lands and the wild life that lives therein, he has got to go.” ~ R.T.


Ryan Zinke faces a range of accusations, and some investigations are underway.

In recent weeks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has taken a lot of heat for his decisions. Conservation groups have lambasted him over the secretiveness of his department’s monuments review. The final review has yet to be made public, though a draft of the report leaked to the press in September. Conservationists have also critiqued his moves to undo years of collaborative planning for sage grouse protection.

Amid all this, several events have come to light that raise questions about Zinke’s ethical practices. The now-revoked Whitefish Energy contract for grid repair in Puerto Rico — though the tiny firm hails from his hometown, Zinke denies any involvement — is only the latest example. Some of his rumored transgressions have quickly dissipated; for example, he reportedly laughed off claims that he threatened Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan before a health care vote. He tweeted a photo of himself and Murkowski sharing beers a few days later. But some of the controversies — including allegations that Zinke has mixed professional and personal business, dodged campaign finance laws and generally demonstrated dubious ethics — have led watchdog groups to call for investigations. Here are the Zinke scandals we’re watching…(CONTNUED)

Click the link to read more about Dinkie Zinke and his exploits:

http://www.hcn.org/articles/scandals-pile-up-for-interior-secretary-zinke

Wild Horse and Burro Hater Zinke continues to add lobbyists and DC insiders to Interior

Source: Western Values Project.org

Ahead of potential confirmation votes, check out profiles of Interior nominees at https://departmentofinfluence.org/

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is expected to vote on the nominations of Joseph Balash and Ryan Nelson to the Interior Department. Ahead of the vote, Western Values Project has taken a look at how the revolving door continues to spin between special interests, their lobbyists, and Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department.

Both nominees have been well documented on Western Values Project’s website for their lengthy histories of favoring big donors and special interests.

“Secretary Zinke is continuing to fill his cabinet with special interests and Washington insiders. While Interior continues to stack the deck with staff from the oil and gas industry, they seem set on ignoring the outdoor industry that our communities rely on. That explains why sportsmen, hunters and anglers are turning against the Secretary,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “Balash and Nelson are merely the latest examples of Zinke’s refusal to keep his promise to preserve public lands and uphold his Montana values. With these nominations, it’s abundantly clear that Secretary Zinke does not value the outdoor heritage and public lands that communities in the West rely on.”

Joseph Balash

Joseph Balash, nominated to be assistant secretary of the Interior, land and minerals management, has a long history of favoring special interests over people in his home state of Alaska. In 2013, Balash was cited as one of the “key players on Gov. Sean Parnell’s bill to lower oil taxes.” In 2014, Balash used his time as the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to claim nearly 20,000 acres of the National Arctic and Wildlife Refuge to be offered for oil and gas leasing. He then approved lowered royalty rates on several leases operated by oil company Caelus Energy.

Ryan Nelson
Ryan Nelson, nominated to be solicitor of the Interior, has a background in using power to silence critics. During the George W. Bush administration, Nelson used his time as deputy attorney general for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division to argue against environmental groups and activists. Nelson has since spent his time in the private sector acting as general counsel to the health care product company Melaleuca, Inc. and its CEO Frank VanderSloot. Both Melaleuca and VanderSloot have used lawsuits and other bullying tactics to attack journalists and other critics.

http://westernvaluesproject.org/zinke-continues-to-add-lobbyists-and-dc-insiders-to-interior/