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Democrats call for investigations into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, National Park Service

The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee is calling for an investigation into whether Interior Secre...

Posted: Apr 7, 2018 11:33 AM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 11:33 AM

The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee is calling for an investigation into whether Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated a federal law known as the Hatch Act as well as a separate inquiry into scientific integrity policy at the National Park Service, according to documents obtained by CNN.

In a letter dated dated April 5, 2018 to the US Office of the Special Counsel, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, asks for an investigation into whether Zinke broke the act when he traveled Florida to hold a press event with Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott to announce he would exempt Florida from the new plans to expand offshore drilling off the US coast.

Scott has been tapped as a possible Republican Senate candidate, and critics suggested the move was politically motivated.

In the letter, Grijalva and Rep. Donald McEachin write that while the event in question "involved matters related to (Interior's) work, several facts may signify that the real reason for holding the event was to further Rick Scott's campaign and not to advance the Department's mission."

Interior spokeswoman Faith Vander Voort said in a statement to CNN that, "The Secretary works closely with career ethics officials and lawyers at all times to ensure that his conduct complies completely with all laws, rules, and regulations."

The Hatch Act is a 1939 federal law intended to limit federal employees from participating in certain political activities. CNN reported in March that it exists as a workplace guideline and violations of it do not constitute a crime.

The US Office of Special Counsel is an entity unrelated to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In a second request, Grijalva and other House Democrats sent a letter on Thursday to Mary Kendall at the Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General asking for "an investigation into the effectiveness of the scientific integrity policy at the National Park Service and whether it is being adequately enforced."

The inspector general's office told CNN they had received the letter and are "reviewing the request."

The letter references a recent report from Reveal, a nonprofit investigative journalism outlet, which claimed that "National Park Service officials have deleted every mention of humans' role in causing climate change in drafts of a long-awaited report on sea level rise and storm surge."

------------The Interior Department did not immediately return a request for comment on the second letter.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 500286

Reported Deaths: 9968
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34281537
DeSoto32039402
Hinds31911626
Jackson24466379
Rankin21971390
Lee15501235
Madison14566279
Jones13825242
Forrest13438250
Lauderdale11984316
Lowndes11003188
Lamar10510135
Pearl River9494237
Lafayette8542139
Hancock7727126
Washington7418157
Oktibbeha7139131
Monroe6765176
Warren6679176
Pontotoc6655102
Neshoba6625206
Panola6511131
Marshall6460134
Bolivar6302148
Union601294
Pike5815152
Alcorn5662101
Lincoln5431134
George496579
Scott472198
Tippah468381
Prentiss466581
Leflore4654144
Itawamba4628105
Adams4584119
Tate4579109
Copiah447792
Simpson4440116
Yazoo443687
Wayne439172
Covington428694
Sunflower4235105
Marion4225107
Coahoma4154104
Leake408088
Newton381679
Grenada3703108
Stone359764
Tishomingo359492
Attala331089
Jasper329565
Winston314091
Clay307676
Chickasaw299467
Clarke292194
Calhoun278945
Holmes267887
Smith263350
Yalobusha233347
Tallahatchie226851
Walthall218763
Greene218248
Lawrence212440
Perry205256
Amite204755
Webster202646
Noxubee186440
Montgomery179456
Jefferson Davis171442
Carroll168738
Tunica159439
Benton148438
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132237
Humphreys129238
Franklin119428
Quitman106428
Wilkinson104839
Jefferson94434
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 815989

Reported Deaths: 15311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1144621915
Mobile723961330
Madison52114694
Shelby37488348
Baldwin37167547
Tuscaloosa35013606
Montgomery34031734
Lee23177245
Calhoun22190476
Morgan20719376
Etowah19774497
Marshall18277302
Houston17333411
St. Clair15967339
Cullman15365292
Limestone15270198
Elmore15126284
Lauderdale14205294
Talladega13783276
DeKalb12598260
Walker11142369
Blount10132175
Autauga9910146
Jackson9819182
Coffee9190191
Dale8874185
Colbert8803201
Tallapoosa7063198
Escambia6755130
Covington6695184
Chilton6608161
Russell626659
Franklin5947105
Chambers5563142
Marion4966126
Dallas4902200
Clarke474083
Pike4722105
Geneva4567126
Winston4493103
Lawrence4286117
Bibb423686
Barbour356576
Marengo337489
Monroe330863
Randolph328263
Butler325396
Pickens314182
Henry311865
Hale310688
Cherokee301660
Fayette291379
Washington251151
Cleburne247160
Crenshaw244075
Clay241268
Macon231763
Lamar219547
Conecuh185753
Coosa179439
Lowndes174464
Wilcox167839
Bullock151644
Perry138440
Sumter132038
Greene126244
Choctaw87827
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