Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke addresses criticism of his travel practices before delivering a speech billed as "A Vision for American Energy Dominance." at the Heritage Foundation on September 29, 2017 in Washington, D.C. 
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Another Trump cabinet secretary under investigation


HHS Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign from Donald Trump’s cabinet late last week following revelations that he relied on taxpayer-financed private flights to a ridiculous degree. The question now is whether Price will soon have some company.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 9/29/17, 8:59 PM ET

Pattern of abuse of taxpayer money seen in wealthy Trump staff

Rachel Maddow reports on the latest in a remarkable list of Trump administration departures, this time of HHS secretary Tom Price, disgraced for his abuse of expensive private planes, though not the only Donald Trump staffer with that problem.
Among the other Trump cabinet members with an odd aversion to commercial air travel is Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who recently gave a motivational speech to a Republican donor’s hockey team, before taking a $12,000 flight home. It didn’t help when we learned the private plane belongs to “the executives of a Wyoming oil-and-gas exploration firm.”

As Rachel noted on Friday’s show, Zinke has also taken private jet flights to a GOP fundraiser and to the U.S. Virgin Islands – long before the islands faced any hurricane damage. As the Washington Post reported, the spring trip “included an official snorkeling tour.”

Confronted with this last week, the Republican cabinet secretary called the controversy “a little b.s.” As Politico  reported yesterday, Zinke has nevertheless found himself under investigation.

The Interior Department’s inspector general’s office has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s use of taxpayer-funded charter planes, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The watchdog has “received numerous complaints” and launched its investigation late last week, said Nancy K. DiPaolo, spokeswoman for Interior’s Office of the Inspector General.

Perhaps we should’ve seen this controversy coming?

Zinke faced allegations from his time in the Navy that he tried to get the government to pay for his personal travel. Senators were aware of the controversy after Trump nominated him, but chose to overlook it.


Another Trump cabinet secretary under investigation