Ryan Zinke’s Unethical Leadership at Interior

Since his appointment by President Trump, Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke’s conduct has raised questions about his management of the department and his use of taxpayer resources. From flights on government jets to potentially involving family members in official government business, it is important for the public to understand exactly what Secretary Zinke has been doing with his time in office.


On October 2, 2017, DOI’s Inspector General announced it was opening an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke following his unethical use of government planes for taxpayer-funded travel, including a trip to his hometown. American Oversight is conducting a broader investigation into Zinke’s overall management of DOI and questionable behavior while serving as secretary for the department.

On behalf of Western Values project, American Oversight is also investigating any role that Lolita Zinke, the wife of Secretary Zinke, may be playing at DOI. Ms. Zinke has reportedly joined her husband on official travel and has an unusually large presence that the department, including sending emails related to government business and participating in government meetings.

What We’re Seeking:

  •      Any records related to Lolita Zinke, wife of Secretary Ryan Zinke, and her role at DOI.
  •      Any records related to Secretary Zinke’s taxpayer-funded travel, meetings, and other events, specifically travel to Europe with his wife, visits to or near his hometown in Montana, and a $12,375 trip to Las Vegas.
  •      Costs, documents, and other records related to the installation of Big Buck Hunter, including the motivations for doing so and how often the game is played.
  •      Communications with pesticide manufacturers and the manipulation of government studies revealing the risk that these pesticides pose to endangered species. 
  •      Records of meetings or communications with Secretary Zinke relating to President Trump’s proposed border wall.