WisDems: Response to secret Ryan Zinke visit

Contact: TJ Helmstetter, tjh@wisdems.org

Today, Trump Administration Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is visiting Wisconsin. He is holding at least one off-the-record event in Sheboygan. This comes just days after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited the state. 

Reaction from DPW:

“It’s no wonder Ryan Zinke is keeping a low profile during his trips these days given all the trouble he’s gotten into for abusing taxpayer money. Ryan Zinke is the epitome of the swamp — and he has a lot in common with Scott Walker.

“Walker has refused to stand up to Trump on just about anything. In return, the Trump administration is awarding him a parade of visitors.” — TJ Helmstetter, DPW spokesperson for 2018 gubernatorial election

Swampy Facts About Ryan Zinke:

  • Zinke faces multiple investigations in the wake of headlines about potential abuses of taxpayer resources, conflicts of interest, and improper political activity — including a $12,000 charter flight home in an oil executive’s plane.
  • The Interior Department’s internal watchdog launched a conflict-of-interest investigation into a real estate deal between Zinke and the chairman of Halliburton that would result in a significant increase in value for Zinke’s personal property.
  • Zinke faced a Hatch Act inquiry for wearing Trump campaign apparel while conducting official business.
  • Zinke took photos with GOP donors for $5,000 per couple at a fundraiser held during a taxpayer-funded trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Zinke took a security detail on his family vacation to Greece and Turkey.
  • Zinke bizarrely required the staff of the Interior Dept. to raise a special flag whenever he was in the building, and spent taxpayer money on commemorative coins with his name on them.
  • The Interior Department under Zinke has been unwilling to cooperate with investigations by multiple federal watchdogs.
  • Even while spending excessive taxpayer money on himself, Zinke wanted to hike fees and reduce free-access days for national parks visitors.
  • Zinke has repeatedly tapped industry insiders to serve on panels that oversee policy for their businesses, including at least three individuals that Zinke’s own staff flagged for conflicts of interest.