A federal ethics probe has determined that Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke misrepresented the role of casino lobby influence on his decision to reject two tribes’ proposal to jointly operate a casino on non-tribal land in Connecticut. When under investigation, Zinke claimed his rejection of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ amendment followed the advice of his top advisors, but emails and text messages show that Zinke went against the advice of career staff after he met with MGM lobbyists with interests in constructing a casino nearby.
CREW is requesting all unredacted records relating to the Interior Department Office of Inspector General’s August 24, 2022 report that found Zinke failed to comply with his duty of candor by providing incorrect, incomplete and misleading answers to OIG investigators about rejecting tribal amendments.
This would be far from the first time that Zinke’s behavior came under investigation. Zinke was investigated 18 times during his time in the Trump administration and his serious alleged malfeasance and possibly criminal behavior should be made fully public. While the OIG report provides insight into and examples of Zinke’s problematic behavior, the public should have access to a full accounting of Zinke’s issues, since he continues to be a public figure whose questionable ties to industry and apparent disregard for ethics rules require close attention.