Some people hate Ryan Zinke and would do anything to destroy him. After all, he was Donald Trump’s secretary of the interior and has Trump’s endorsement in his bid to return to Congress.
Could that have anything to do with the fact that a report was released today that sought to undermine Zinke’s credibility as he is running to return to Congress in Montana’s 1st Congressional District?
Who knows? (Wink wink nod nod!)
But it was certainly no surprise when the news broke that Zinke had been the subject of an investigation by Interior’s inspector general. Nor was it any surprise that the IG found that Zinke had “failed to abide by his ethics obligations” and “did not comply with his duty of candor.” The left has been trying to pin this kind of allegation on Zinke for years. In fact, Zinke was the subject of a Leftist Media/Deep State/Enviro Wacko witch hunt from the day he was nominated by Trump got linked to several fake scandals (here and here, for instance) during his tenure at Interior.
What is truly annoying is that the subject of this “new” investigation is of so little significance that it exposes just how absurd are the rules that public officials are expected to operate under. President Trump has been persecuted for years for similar “offenses,” which mainly come under the category of “didn’t toe the liberal line.”
Here are the basic facts about this story: Prior to his appointment as secretary, Zinke had been involved in a small commercial development in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana, called 95 Karrow, that was proposed by a senior executive of the Halliburton Company. All of the allegations concern the fact that Zinke participated in helping to bring the commercial project to fruition, but without a financial interest. In essence Zinke was acting as a Whitefish booster, something that is appropriate for a former high school football star and local military hero.
The most important part of the report is three brief paragraphs in the executive summary:
“In addition, we did not substantiate the allegation that Secretary Zinke violated Federal conflict of interest laws. Specifically, because we did not find that Secretary Zinke participated in any official matters involving the Foundation or the 95 Karrow project, we did not conclude that he violated 18 U.S.C. § 208, the Federal criminal conflict of interest statute, or that he violated his obligation to recuse from all official matters involving the Foundation for 2 years after his resignation from the Foundation. We also did not find that Secretary Zinke took any official action to specifically benefit the Halliburton Company.
“We referred our findings to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which declined prosecution of this matter in the summer of 2021.
“We are providing this report to the current Secretary of the Interior for any action deemed appropriate.”
So to summarize: NO conflict of interest. NO recusal violation. NO misuse of his office to benefit the developer. And NO PROSECUTION!
But for some reason, in the weeks before the GOP primary where Zinke will fight for the nomination against at least three opponents, this report is released with much media hoopla.
Hopefully, the primary will be fought over the question of who will be the best candidate to represent Montana’s interests in Congress, and not whether Zinke has been targeted by “official Washington” for his avid support of a President Trump’s America First agenda.
I think the other Republican candidates, Kalispell physician and state legislator Al Olszewski and political novices Mary Todd of Kalispell and Allen McKibben of Columbia Falls will keep their campaigns focused on issues.
But if Zinke prevails in the primary, I don’t have the same confidence in the Democrat candidate!
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Heartland Diary is solely operated by Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. If you enjoy reading these daily essays, I hope you will SUBSCRIBE to www.HeartlandDiaryUSA.com by leaving your email address on the home page. Twitter and Facebook may ban me at any time. Also please consider purchasing one of my books. They are available through the following Amazon links. My new book is “What Matters Most: God, Country, Family and Friends” and is a collection of personal essays that transcend politics. My earlier books include “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution,” “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” and the “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” As an Amazon Associate, I may earn referral fees for qualifying purchases through links on my website.