A federal investigation found that former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke under the Trump administration misused his position to support a development project in his hometown in Montana.

He had been a founding member of a nonprofit called Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation but resigned from his role when he became secretary in May 2017. At the time of his confirmation, he said he would not participate “personally and substantially” in the non-profit for a year.

The report found that he had played a large role within the nonprofit, even representing the foundation in negotiations in connection to a project referred to as the 95 Karrow Project. Zinke resigned from his position in 2018 after questions were raised around possible ethics violations.

Sixty-four emails were found through the investigation, proving that Zinke directed developers. When questioned about his involvement with the foundation in 2018, Zinke “violated his duty of candor when he knowingly provided materially incorrect, incomplete, and misleading answers,” the report said.


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The investigation did not include any statements from Zinke or anyone close to him citing the reason being that they refused to talk. Zinke’s campaign denied the statement. They said investigators “didn’t even bother” to speak with Zinke or anyone they said was involved. The emails and text messages were subpoenaed by the investigation.

Zinke’s campaign called the investigation “a political hit job” and “false information.”

“Today’s report shows us yet again that former President Trump’s appointees didn’t view their positions at the highest level of our government as an opportunity to serve our country, but as an opportunity to serve the interests of their personal pocketbooks,” said Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D) in a statement.

Zinke is currently running for a House seat in Montana with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

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