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Senator Wyden Calls For Investigation Into Interior Department Spending


Concerned that the Interior Department might be misusing funds at its disposal, a senator from Oregon has asked the department's inspector general to audit how funds from its Wildlife Fire Management Account have been spent since Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was confirmed.

Sen. Ron Wyden's request follows news reports that nearly $40,000 from the account was used to fly Secretary Zinke around Nevada last summer, and during the trip the secretary did not visit any fire zones.

"Amidst the most expensive wildfire season in history, it is unequivocally intolerable that the Interior Department could be wasting scarce taxpayer resources that are meant to save lives," wrote Sen. Wyden to Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall on Wednesday. "This incident, taken with past reports of Secretary Zinke's potential abuse of government-sponsored air travel -- including chartered private flights to his home state and around the U.S. Virgin Islands and helicopter rides around Washington, D.C. -- demonstrate a troubling pattern of disregard for taxpayer dollars."

The $39,295 spent on Mr. Zinke's tour of Nevada was reported by Newsweek late last month. Interior Department staff said the accounting of the travel was made in error, and was later correted.


Mr. Wyden is beating an old drum.  In fact, Mr. Wyden is not very impressive which "may" explain why Oregon does not attact much in the way of new busiiness and the historicaly high unemployment.  Oregon's only growth industry is pot.  

I think the blame for any economic woes of Oregon would lie with the Governor not a Senator. 

Well, someone has been emulating the administration's penchant for deflection this morning, or else they're a fan of the talking dog from the movie 'Up'. 

While you might think it's convenient to have us stare at the squirrel!! over there, we are speaking about the swamp creature over here right now; and whether it is Ron Wyden or Mitch McConnell bringing it up, Zinke's travel habits are a disgrace.


The only 'old drum' here is Zinke's misuse of funds for his own personal use. Doing so while forcing austerity on one's underlings requires a particular detachment from the sort of ethical core one would hope for.

Zinke's travel abuses make annual "Ethics training" even more of a hypocritical sham.

Must agree Glad2bretired, public service ethics are being throw out window. 

These Navy Seals like Zinke and as of today, Governor Greitens of Missouri, seem to have a serious want for integrity. Such shame upon such an esteemed branch.  Now Zinke carries that shame bucket over to interior. The metaphors here are inescapable.

Backpacker... I heard from an in-law of mine who lives in Missouri, and per her Greitens campaigned on 'family values' and fooled some of the voters. Right now I don't think all that many of them will even remember.

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