Inspector general reports coming soon on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

Two major reports are expected this month from the Interior Department's inspector general, wrapping up two investiga...

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 12:15 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 12:15 PM

Two major reports are expected this month from the Interior Department's inspector general, wrapping up two investigations that have been hanging over Secretary Ryan Zinke's head for several months.

A review of more than 30 reassignments of senior executive staffers -- many of whom were minorities or women -- could be completed by the end of this week. CNN reported last month that Zinke has been telling staff that he isn't focused on diversity. Meanwhile, some of the reassigned staffers complained they felt they were being retaliated against for political reasons.

Next week, another report is expected on Zinke's use of military and private aircraft, one a plane owned by pool executives, while traveling to his hometown and in the US Virgin Islands.

Over the past year, Zinke has faced numerous questions from media and Congress about his travel practices, and apparent mixing of business and personal travel.

He and other Cabinet members -- including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and now-departed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin -- have been under investigation and scrutiny for travel or personal-related spending throughout the past year.

These are just two of several open investigations that loom over Zinke.

The Office of Special Counsel is considering two possible Hatch Act violations related to Zinke's trips to Pennsylvania and Florida.

In February, during a special election in western Pennsylvania, Zinke announced $56 million in grants to help clean up abandoned mining sites at an event with state Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate in the tight race. Democrats asked for an investigation, and say the Office of Special Counsel is reviewing the request.

On Friday CNN reported that the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, is calling for a Hatch Act investigation into whether Zinke violated the act when he announced Florida's exemption from expanded offshore drilling with Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

The Office of Special Counsel told CNN it has received the letter and opened a file. Grijalva's office says the OSC confirmed to them that it is taking up the review. (The Office of Special Counsel is unrelated to the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Muller.)

The Government Accountability Office wrote a letter back in September to Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. saying the GAO is writing a legal opinion on whether Zinke threatened two Republican Alaska senators during the heated health care debate. It was sparked by an interview with Sen. Dan Sullivan in the Alaska Dispatch News in which Sullivan recalled a "troubling" conversation with Zinke, saying he seemed to threaten consequences for Alaska if Sullivan didn't support Obamacare repeal.

"I'm not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop," Sullivan said.

The inspector general closed an investigation when both Sullivan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski declined to cooperate. Zinke called the suggestion "laughable."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36680

Reported Deaths: 1250
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 54768

Reported Deaths: 1096
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
Cherokee1247
Geneva980
Lamar891
Clay852
Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 95°
Columbus
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 99°
Oxford
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 90°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
90° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 95°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather