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Ryan Zinke resigns amid scandals, corruption

Zinke the latest in Trump’s Cabinet to fall to ethics issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following more than 17 federal investigations into his conduct in office, Ryan Zinke today resigned as secretary of the Department of the Interior, according to a tweet from Donald Trump.

Since taking office, Zinke’s actions have raised flags for ethics officials. Key examples include his use of taxpayer dollars for a vacation with his wife, mixing work travel with GOP campaign events, and rolling back safety standards that protect workers, our environment and communities. In addition, Zinke’s foundation entered into a land deal with the chairman of Halliburton — which has been a major beneficiary of Zinke’s efforts to open public lands and waters to drilling.

In response to Zinke’s resignation, Nicole Ghio, Senior Fossil Fuels Program Manager for Friends of the Earth issued the following statement:

Zinke’s days of plundering our lands and enriching himself and his friends are over. With an average of nearly one federal investigation opened into his conduct in office per month, Zinke’s highly questionable ethics have finally caught up with him. Now, he is just another name on Trump’s list of disgraced cabinet officials, which the Republican-led Congress has failed to hold accountable.

Zinke misused taxpayer funds, made racist remarks and hacked away at America’s public lands. While Zinke’s name will be forgotten, his giveaways to big oil must be remembered and reversed. Zinke’s departure does not erase all the harm he has caused.

With Zinke gone, his likely successor David Bernhardt must now be stopped. Bernhardt’s history of lobbying for special interests, and his deep ties to fossil fuel companies, make him a walking conflict of interest. As the new Congress comes into session, Democrats must dig into the corruption at Trump’s Interior Department that exploits our lands and waters for the benefit of corporate profits instead of the American people.

Communications contact: Patrick Davis, (202) 222-0744, pdavis@foe.org

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