Watchdog Launches Ethics Probe into Top Interior Department Officials

Apr 24, 2019

The Interior Department’s watchdog has launched a major ethics investigation into six top officials, including former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the agency’s current head, David Bernhardt. The probe by Interior’s inspector general follows an ethics complaint filed in February alleging the officials routinely disregarded rules requiring they recuse themselves from official meetings with former employers or lobbying clients. Secretary Bernhardt is a former oil lobbyist who’s been accused of making at least 15 policy decisions that directly benefited former clients since he joined the agency in 2017. His predecessor, Ryan Zinke, resigned in December as he faced at least 17 federal investigations into his suspected ethics violations and corruption, including a criminal probe into whether he lied to Interior Department investigators.

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