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Author Topic: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations  (Read 812 times)

Offline bigtex

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Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« on: November 19, 2017, 08:36:04 AM »
Interior Department officials are being asked by investigators to more fully document travel by Secretary Ryan Zinke, including details on when his wife traveled with him.

To date, the Office of Inspector General's review of the secretary's travel has been slowed "by absent, or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips and a review process that failed to include proper documentation and accountability," Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall told Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in a letter Wednesday.

"Although we have received full cooperation from all employees contacted, we have found the documentation and adherence to Departmental travel policies deficient and without proper management oversight and accountability," she added in the letter. "Many authorizations and vouchers required for Secretary Zinke’s fiscal year 2017 travel have yet to be completed and processed.

"In addition, we learned that the Office of the Solicitor and Department Ethics officials have established a process to review and approve Secretarial travel, but the process does not include sufficient documentation of the legal and ethical analysis conducted to distinguish between personal, political, and official travel, or consistent cost analysis to justify use of noncommercial travel," wrote Ms. Kendall. "Finally, based on the documents we have received to date, we have not been able to determine the full extent to which Lolita Zinke, the Secretary’s wife, accompanied the Secretary on official travel."

The Inspector General's office opened the investigation into Secretary Zinke's travel in September after he spent $12,375 on a charter flight from Las Vegas to Kalispell, Montana, so he could attend a function in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana. A commercial flight would have cost the secretary around $300.

After news broke of the charter expense, Secretary Zinke referred to it as "a little BS over travel."

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, also inquired about the secretary's travel decisions.

“Ethical guidelines are on the books to promote transparency and responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Federal officials should be held to the highest ethical standard in adhering to these rules,” Rep. Bishop said in a statement at the time. “When violations occur, the public deserves to know. When willful violations occur, there should be consequences. When partisan opportunists conflate diligent conformance to scandal, no one wins. Let’s get all facts on the table, ensure taxpayers are protected, and proceed with the peoples’ business.”

In a letter to the secretary's office Mr. Bishop asked for documents regarding Interior policies and guidelines for travel when using “government-owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft” and “each use of a government-owned, rented, leased, or chartered aircraft by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior since January 20, 2009,” a period that also covers the years the Interior Department was led by Ken Salazar (2009-2013) and Sally Jewell (2013-2017).

Ms. Kendall in her letter to Mr. Bernhardt asked that her office be provided by December 11 with:

* Complete documentation for all FY17 Secretarial travel (authorizations, vouchers, reimbursements).

* Complete documentation for all FY17 travel for the Secretary’s wife when she accompanied him on official travel. This documentation should describe all instances when Mrs. Zinke traveled in a government-owned vehicle, watercraft, or aircraft, and whether payment on her behalf was paid in advance, determined to be reimbursable, or no reimbursement required.

Interest over Mrs. Zinke's travels with her husband came after news that she and the secretary's aunt accompanied him on a tour of Channel Islands National Park off the coast of California.

The OIG also recommended that Interior officials:

1. Develop and implement procedures (with appropriate performance management measures) to complete the timely processing of future Secretarial travel documents in accordance with government travel regulations and Department policy.

2. Develop and implement procedures to ensure consistent documentation of the SOL’s legal and ethical analysis of the Secretary’s future travel, to include the review, analysis, and approval of:

* Use of non-commercial transportation;

* Personal and political travel, and need for reimbursement;

* Accompanied spousal or family travel.

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2017/11/oig-interior-department-didnt-properly-document-secretary-zinkes-travel

Offline olyguy79

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 08:40:03 AM »
There's a reason he has the nickname "stinky Zinke"

Wonder if he'll have the same end result as Tom Price?

Offline Bushcraft

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 04:46:56 PM »
Oh, the outrage!  :rolleyes:

Where was it during Obama's reign? It makes a guy wonder about the depth and breadth of the prior administration's Deep State.

Zinke is unquestionably the most pro-hunting Secretary of the Interior we have had in recent times.  It's baffling that members of the hunting community revel in witch hunts to try and tear him down.

That said, I'm no fan of government waste in any shape or form.
Liberalism is the philosophy of Western suicide.

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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 04:52:54 PM »
spank em hard, or can him, take it out of his earnings and ground him.



so sick of fraud waste and abuse
SCI

Offline Stein

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 05:00:43 PM »
It's the culture in DC, live and travel like modern Romans.  At least some of them have the minimum amount of decency required to apologize and immediately pay it back when they get caught instead of calling taxpayer fraud "a little BS."

Offline Bushcraft

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 05:22:44 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/politics/obama-interior-secretaries-air-travel-cost/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/29/politics/ryan-zinke-private-travel-bs/index.html

Zinke said he only flies charter after it's determined by "multiple career professionals at the department that no other options meet the schedule."

He added they're only booked after "extensive due diligence" by the Interior Department general counsel and ethics department.

This is a politicized witch hunt. Nothing more.
Liberalism is the philosophy of Western suicide.

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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 06:24:40 PM »
was the schedule so he could get a private flight or vice versa?    Change his schedule to fit the cheap flights  :twocents:

Or don't go to these small functions that probably personal anyways
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 06:30:29 PM by KFhunter »
SCI

Offline WAcoyotehunter

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 07:45:41 PM »
12k from Vegas to Kalispell is out of line.  IDK if this is a witch Hunt or not.  I suspect if someone from the last administration was spending that kind of money for a private flight it would have been mentioned.  That's a waste of Gov money for sure.

Offline Skillet

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2017, 10:10:46 AM »
This is the undrained swamp, still doing what it does. Not a party issue - an entitled, elitist Gov't worker issue.
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Offline Bushcraft

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 10:27:36 AM »
12k from Vegas to Kalispell is out of line.  IDK if this is a witch Hunt or not.  I suspect if someone from the last administration was spending that kind of money for a private flight it would have been mentioned.  That's a waste of Gov money for sure.

Did you read the articles? The point is that people from the prior administration did the same damnably wasteful thing on occasion. Not a peep of outrage (or mention by the hunting community).  Zero media attention.

Again, I despise any and all forms of government waste, but this witch hunt reeks of hypocritical left-wing bias.
Liberalism is the philosophy of Western suicide.

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Offline Skillet

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2017, 10:56:45 AM »
To be fair, it was Trump who ran on draining the swamp, not Obama.

Achieving par for government waste isn't good enough, imho.
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Offline Bushcraft

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2017, 02:24:31 PM »
To be fair, it was Trump who ran on draining the swamp, not Obama.

Achieving par for government waste isn't good enough, imho.

Agreed.
Liberalism is the philosophy of Western suicide.

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Offline WAcoyotehunter

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2017, 08:03:01 AM »
12k from Vegas to Kalispell is out of line.  IDK if this is a witch Hunt or not.  I suspect if someone from the last administration was spending that kind of money for a private flight it would have been mentioned.  That's a waste of Gov money for sure.

Did you read the articles? The point is that people from the prior administration did the same damnably wasteful thing on occasion. Not a peep of outrage (or mention by the hunting community).  Zero media attention.

Again, I despise any and all forms of government waste, but this witch hunt reeks of hypocritical left-wing bias.
Not sure about left wing bias...the CNN article is pretty clear that Jewel and Salazar spent a fortune too.  The hunting community wasn't "outraged" (I don't think they are outraged right now...) because those secretaries didn't run as the Teddy Roosevelt reincarnate.  Hunters didn't pay attention to them like they are Zinke.

I don't think this is a party line.  Both parties should be responsible with our money.

Offline Sandberm

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2017, 09:25:14 AM »
As Mags said in another thread...this is a pinecone on the tree that we fixate on because its and easy situation to figure out.

What has Zinke done thats good for keeping our outdoors, ours? Thats what is important.

Offline Stein

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Re: Secretary of the Interior Investigated for Travel Violations
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2017, 10:14:34 AM »
I don't really care what party they are, this is taxpayer fraud, just like all the other guys that do the same thing.  You also don't get a free pass if you do something good.

 

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