The feds are investigating Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke over whether he used his office for personal gain, following a referral from the department’s inspector general.
The inspector general’s office looked at multiple incidents involving Zinke, including the department’s handling of a Connecticut casino project, whether the boundaries for Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument were redrawn to benefit a Utah state lawmaker, and conversations between Zinke and Halliburton chief David Lesar about a Montana land project, sources told CNN and the Washington Post.
In Connecticut, Zinke’s department refused to sign off on a casino deal involving the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.
Career staffers had recommended approving the tribes’ application to jointly run the casino, which would have competed with an MGM Resorts International casino across the border in Massachusetts.
But MGM and two Nevada senators lobbied against the permit, and in the end, Zinke did not grant it, the paper reported.
Zinke told the cable network he had not been contacted by the Justice Department.
“They haven’t talked to me. It will be the same thing as all the other investigations. I follow all rules, procedures, regulations and most importantly the law. This is another politically driven investigation that has no merit,” Zinke said.
The Justice Department and IG’s Office declined to comment.
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