In what has become an embarrassing reoccurrence for the Trump administration, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has once again made headlines for his and his wife’s travel at taxpayer expense.
The Washington Post broke the story after emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Western Values Project showed the secretary rearranging travel that Interior employees “urge[d] against.” View the emails here.
“It’s sad to say that we shouldn’t be surprised at this point. We have seen a pattern of travel abuses from Zinke dating back to his days in the Navy that has apparently carried over to his post at Interior,” said Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project. “These non-stop embarrassing headlines are an eye-sore for the White House, and highlight a pattern of sloppy and ethically deficient decision making by Zinke and the leadership at Interior.”
The nearly $2,000 in additional travel costs were incurred after the secretary and his wife requested to be picked up in Santa Barbara, California, not the originally scheduled Ventura Harbor. Zinke’s wife owns a home in Santa Barbara where the couple had been spending the weekend.
The Zinke’s lavish travels have made plenty of news recently, including from the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General’s Office, that cited “absent or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips and a review process that failed to include proper documentation and accountability.”