Targeted by the Deep State since Day 1
I was honored to serve as Secretary of the Interior. Indian trust lands, public lands, wildlife management, water, and federal energy, all fall within Interior. I was given the chance to make a difference in Montana and I was excited for the challenge. But in the 24 hours between my bipartisan confirmation (earning the support of Jon Tester plus seven other Democrats) and the time I sat down at my desk, I received four lawsuits and an investigation. I had no idea the corrupt system I was up against.
I encountered a department controlled by bureaucrats who answered to no one, couldn’t be fired, and weaponized the inspector general to shield their abuses of power. Interior employees were involved in sexual misconduct —never fired. Millions in taxpayer funded grants given to friends and allies of bureaucrats — no repercussions. Purposely flawed regulations were written that invited environmental groups to sue and then be rewarded by excessive settlements that were sealed so nobody could determine the cost to taxpayers. The swamp was in control.
Any federal employee can file a complaint regardless of merit. All complaints are investigated, and hence, a “federal investigation” is born. Attorney General Bill Barr summed it up best, “the nadir of this campaign was the effort to cripple, if not oust the Trump administration with frenzied and baseless accusations…no tactic, no matter how abusive and deceitful, was out of bounds.”
Over the next two years, I was subjected to politically motivated “investigations” into such nonsense as my socks, Doggy Days, flag protocol, and approved official travel, even though I flew coach while Obama’s Secretary spent millions on contracted jets. In every case, the “investigations” found that no laws or regulations were violated. And when they didn’t like my answers, they changed the title of the report and called it a lie. The radical environmental groups that have been killing Montana towns for decades and getting rich off sue and settle schemes couldn’t stop the policies we were implementing, so they tried to stop me by ruining me personally with baseless political attacks. Interestingly, one of the hacks running one of these green decoy groups is now my opponent’s senior staff. The most recent “investigation” is a prime example.
The case involved two New England Indian tribes who wanted to build a casino off trust land. They submitted a petition for Interior to approve or disapprove the project. It was not the job of DC to approve or disapprove the off-reservation project. Tribes should be free to engage in legal business activity on non-trust land just like everyone else without having to ask Interior’s permission. Special interest groups that were set to make billions off a sweetheart deal were enraged. We went to court and won. The judge agreed Interior didn’t have authority in the matter.
The swamp wanted revenge. Those special interests teamed up with political interests and claimed “improper influence,” whatever that means. After 5 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, the findings were no conflict of interest and no laws or regulations were violated. The best they could conjure up was to rename the post-investigation report and issue an opinion that I didn’t abide by my employee handbook and “lacked candor” because they didn’t like my answers. Despite journalists’ and the Tranel campaign’s lies, the report never said I lied to investigators. A waste of time and government resources, and my wife and I nearly had to sell our home to pay the legal bills. The report also omitted the fact that the federal courts agreed with our decision.
Despite the attacks, we moved America from energy dependent to energy dominant. Gas was $2.50 a gallon, emissions declined, and our safety record was unprecedented. We secured the border and tackled the infrastructure needs of our National Parks. In the words of AG Barr, the accomplishments were “all the more historic because it was in the face of relentless, implacable resistance.”
I’ll leave you with this: It’s curious there were no salacious reports issued in the three years between the time I left office and the year I’m running for election. I wonder why…
Lies vs Truth
Lie: Ryan Zinke lives in California
Truth: Ryan Zinke does not live in or own property in California. Ryan Zinke is a fifth generation Montanan who lives in his family home in Whitefish, MT, where he was born and raised. Other than being stationed around the world while serving as a US Navy SEAL, Ryan Zinke has lived in Whitefish his entire life. After the military he came back home, both his sons graduated from Whitefish high school, and he still lives there today.
- If they say: “But his wife is a California resident” – Mrs. Zinke grew up in California and she inherited her family business & home after the passing of her parents. She maintains the business and property and they are solely in her name.
Lie: Ryan Zinke made a sweetheart deal in his hometown of Whitefish violating conflict of interest laws. The deal gave an oil baron and millionaire investor special access to develop park land that Zinke owns so Zinke could flip a profit.
Truth: Upon coming home following his military career, Ryan and Lola Zinke acquired a gravel pit and transformed it into a free park that locals use for sledding, dog walking, disc golf and other recreational activities. The park has a gravel road and small parking area. A neighboring landowner who wanted to develop a vacant lot approached Mrs. Zinke about sharing the gravel road and in return the park would have access to the parking lot the developer planned to build. The project was never built. The inspector general never interviewed the Zinkes or the developer. At the end of the course, the inspector general found no evidence to support a sweetheart deal and stated there was no conflict of interest and neither Zinke nor the developer of the project in any way profited. Secretary and Mrs. Zinke declined to sit for an interview with the politically motivated Inspector General, and Democrats are lying to voters by alleging that Secretary Zinke lied in the report.
Lie: Ryan Zinke abused taxpayer dollars on travel
Truth: Secretary Zinke slashed the budget for Secretarial travel, reducing the number of flights on chartered, nonmilitary airplanes from several dozen and well over a quarter million dollars (under the Obama Administration) to just 2 flights during his tenure. In those two cases, the flights were the only option available to attend a bilateral diplomatic event with the Danish government and a conference with The Western Governors Association led by Montana’s Democrat Governor Steve Bullock. An Office of Special Counsel investigation cleared Zinke of all allegations regarding his travel.
Lie: Other false and salacious claims against Ryan Zinke’s service
Truth: Ryan Zinke served 23 years as a US Navy SEAL officer including tours with SEAL Teams One and Six, he served combat deployments hunting war criminals during the Bosnian War and as Deputy Commander of Joint Special Forces in Iraq. His service record is exemplary, he was awarded multiple medals, ribbons and commendations and released his full service jacket with performance reviews. Ryan retired after 23 years at the rank of Commander, including tours with Seal Teams 1 and 6 and leading all BUDs and Navy Seal training.
Lie: Ryan Zinke supports gun control/wants to ban the .50 cal
Truth: Ryan Zinke is A+ rated and endorsed by the NRA. As a former Navy SEAL and lifelong hunter, Zinke practices and values our second amendment rights. He has never supported gun control measures and believes in codifying law-abiding Americans’ rights to conceal carry, own firearms, prevent gun owners’ information from being posted in public forums, and other measures. As Secretary of the Interior, Ryan expanded access to hunting and shooting on federal lands, repealed the Obama-era ban on lead ammo, and repealed a policy that prevented the BLM from managing federal lands as safe shooting ranges.
Lie: Ryan Zinke sold public land to oil companies
Truth: Ryan Zinke opposes the sale or transfer of public lands and has never sold public lands. In fact, under his leadership DOI expanded federal acreage. As Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke oversaw the federal mineral and energy leasing program. Most federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management is regulated for “multiple use” and the Department is required to hold energy lease sales. When federal lands are leased, the land remains in federal ownership and the leasing party pays a royalty to the government for the minerals rights. Zinke made the United States energy independent and gas was approximately $2.50 when he was in office because he leveraged the rich energy and mineral deposits in federal lands and offshore. The revenue from these leases funds conservation and national parks.
Lie: Ryan Zinke shrank national parks/national monuments and got rid of federal land
Truth: Ryan Zinke opposes the sale or transfer of public lands and has never sold public lands. In fact, under his leadership DOI expanded federal acreage. As Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke reversed a last minute land grab by the Obama Administration in the state of Utah. Obama took over a million acres of National Forests, Wilderness, National Recreation Area, National Grazing lands and private lands, and put it off limits by designating it a “national monument” to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Zinke talked with local, state and Tribal leaders and toured the areas. After extensive public comment and deliberation, Zinke adjusted the boundaries of the monument to exclude private land and restore prior wilderness and national forest designations back to land. Several hundred thousand acres remained a national monument. The decision was cheered by local stakeholders and opposed by radical environmental groups from coastal states who were seeking to shut down access and multiple use of the land. Not a single federal acre of federal land left the federal estate under Zinke’s tenure at Interior.