CONFLICT OF INTEREST/ETHICS/INTERIOR/RYAN ZINKE: “The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating whether Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke broke the law when he gave a speech to a professional hockey team owned by a political donor in June, the agency said on Tuesday.
Zinke is already being investigated by the Interior Department’s inspector general in connection with his travels and the use of private charter flights, amid heightened scrutiny into private plane use by administration officials.
The Campaign for Accountability complained last week that a speech Zinke gave on June 26 to the Vegas Golden Knights, a National Hockey League team based in Las Vegas, violated the Hatch Act barring executive branch employees from engaging in political activity.
The team is owned by Bill Foley, chairman of Fidelity National Financial Inc and a donor to Zinke’s congressional campaigns.
The Office of Special Counsel’s Hatch Act unit, which is independent from the Justice Department, said in an email to Daniel Stevens, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability, that it received its Hatch Act complaint ‘and will open a case file to address this matter.’
A spokeswoman for the agency declined to comment on the case.
Interior Department officials said the speech did not violate any laws, rules or regulations.”
-Valerie Volcovici, “U.S. Interior Secretary investigated over speech to donor’s hockey team,” Reuters, Oct. 3, 2017 09:34am