Interior watchdog report: Zinke travel ‘generally followed’ policy

Posted at 5:11 PM, Apr 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-16 19:11:48-04

A new inspector general report has concluded Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s travel customs "generally followed" policy.

Zinke has faced scrutiny over his travel after reports that he had used military and private aircraft, in addition to his practice of mixing business and personal trips.

"We determined that Zinke’s use of chartered flights in fiscal year 2017 generally followed relevant law, policy, rules, and regulations," said the report by the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General.

The IG report, though, does note at one point that Zinke’s trip to Las Vegas on a chartered flight was "reviewed and approved by DOI ethics officials without complete information, and that the use of the chartered flight might have been avoided if the DOI employees who were scheduling Zinke’s trip had worked with the Golden Knights to better accommodate his schedule."

On the trip to Las Vegas, Zinke met with players on the Vegas Golden Knights hockey team, a team spokesman previously told CNN.

For the same trip, the report said an event nearby in Nevada — a local government funding announcement, according to his schedule — was "scheduled after Zinke and his staff had already planned to be in Las Vegas for the event" with the team.

Zinke is one of several members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet who have been asked to answer for questionable spending habits.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin have all been under investigation for travel or expenses during their time leading their agencies.