This article needs to be updated.July 2019)(
|52nd United States Secretary of the Interior|
March 1, 2017 – January 2, 2019
|Preceded by||Sally Jewell|
|Succeeded by||David Bernhardt|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Montana's at-large district
January 3, 2015 – March 1, 2017
|Preceded by||Steve Daines|
|Succeeded by||Greg Gianforte|
|Member of the Montana Senate|
from the 2nd district
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Dan Weinberg|
|Succeeded by||Dee L. Brown|
Ryan Keith Zinke
November 1, 1961
Bozeman, Montana, U.S.
Lolita Hand (m. 1992)
|Education||University of Oregon (BS)|
National University (MBA)
University of San Diego (MS)
|Net worth||$800,000 (2016)|
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1986–2008|
|Unit|| SEAL Team Six|
SEAL Team One
Naval Special Warfare Center
|Awards|| Bronze Star (2)|
Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Meritorious Service Medal (4)
Joint Service Commendation Medal (2)
Army Commendation Medal
Ryan Keith Zinke (//; born November 1, 1961) is an American politician and businessman who served as United States Secretary of the Interior in the Trump Administration from 2017 until his resignation in 2019. He previously served as the U.S. Representative for Montana's at-large congressional district from 2015 to 2017. From 2009 to 2013, he served as a member of the Montana Senate, representing the 2nd district.
Zinke played college football at the University of Oregon and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geology. He also has a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in global leadership. He was a U.S. Navy SEAL from 1986 until 2008, retiring with the rank of commander. The first Navy SEAL to be elected to the United States House of Representatives, Zinke formerly served as a member on the Natural Resources Committee and the Armed Services Committee. As a member of Congress, Zinke supported the use of ground troops in the Middle East to combat ISIS and opposed the Affordable Care Act, various environmental regulations, and the transfer of federal lands to individual states.
Zinke was appointed as United States Secretary of the Interior by President Donald Trump. Zinke was confirmed on March 1, 2017, becoming the first Navy SEAL and the first Montanan since statehood to occupy a Cabinet position.
As Secretary, Zinke opened more federal lands for oil, gas and mineral exploration and extraction. Zinke's expenditures as Secretary of the Interior, which included expensive flights, raised ethical questions and controversy, and were investigated by the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General. His ethical troubles were the subject of a PBS News Hour report on October 19, 2018. On October 30, 2018, the investigation into Zinke was referred to the Justice Department by Interior's Inspector General. Trump announced on December 15, 2018, that Zinke would leave his post on January 2, 2019, to be replaced by his deputy David Bernhardt.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Military career
- 3 Business ventures
- 4 Political career
- 4.1 Montana Senate (2009–2013)
- 4.2 2012 campaign for lieutenant governor
- 4.3 Radio show
- 4.4 2014 House election
- 4.5 Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (2015–2017)
- 5 Secretary of the Interior (2017–2019)
- 5.1 Rescinded ban on lead bullets
- 5.2 National Monument reductions
- 5.3 Expenditure controversies
- 5.4 Flying of Secretarial flag
- 5.5 Trophy hunting
- 5.6 Greater sage-grouse
- 5.7 Migratory Bird Treaty Act
- 5.8 Interior Department employees
- 5.9 Budget proposals
- 5.10 2018 wildfires
- 5.11 Calendar omissions
- 5.12 Departure from office
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Electoral history
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life and education
Zinke was born in Bozeman, Montana, and raised in Whitefish. He is the son of Jean Montana (Harlow) Petersen and Ray Dale Zinke, a plumber. He was a Boy Scout and earned his Eagle Scout award. He was a star athlete at Whitefish High School and accepted a football scholarship to the University of Oregon in Eugene; recruited as an outside linebacker, he switched to offense and was an undersized starting center for the Ducks of the Pac-10 under head coach Rich Brooks. Zinke earned a B.S. in geology in 1984 and graduated with honors. In American Commander, he wrote that he decided on his major by "randomly pointing to a major from the academic catalog." Zinke's intended career path was underwater geology. Despite never working as a geologist, Zinke publicly refers to himself as a geologist. Zinke later earned an M.B.A. from National University in 1993 and an M.S. in global leadership from the University of San Diego in 2003.
Zinke served as a U.S. Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008, retiring at the rank of commander. Zinke graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training class 136 in February 1986 and subsequently served with SEAL Team One from 1986 to 1988. His next assignment was as a First Phase Officer of BUD/S before serving with United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), from May 1991 to 1993. Zinke then served as a Plans officer for Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) and served a second tour with NSWDG as team leader, ground force commander, task force commander and current operations officer from 1996 to 1999.
In the late 1990s, Zinke paid back the Navy $211 after improperly billing the government for personal travel expenses. Zinke's former commanding officer, now-retired Vice Admiral Albert M. Calland III, stated that as a result, Zinke received a June 1999 Fitness Report that blocked him from being promoted to a commanding officer position, or to the rank of captain. Zinke acknowledged the error but maintains that the incident did not adversely affect his career. His promotion from lieutenant commander to commander was approved the following year.
From 1999 to 2001, Zinke served as executive officer for the Naval Special Warfare Unit Two and then as executive officer, Naval Special Warfare Center from 2001 to 2004. In 2004, Zinke was the deputy and acting commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula. Zinke's campaign website stated that he was "the deputy and acting commander" of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force–Arabian Peninsula and "led a force of more than 3,500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq" in 2004. Retired Major General Michael S. Repass, who was Zinke's superior in Iraq, told the New York Times that these claims "might be a stretch" but that Zinke "did a good job" and was "a competent guy." Following his tours in Iraq, Zinke served "as the second-ranking officer (and briefly acting commander) of the main SEAL training center." In 2006, Zinke was selected to establish the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command, serving as dean of the graduate school until his retirement from active duty in 2008. The graduate school had 250 educators, offering over 43 college level courses to over 2,500 students annually at 15 different locations worldwide. He retired from the Navy in 2008.
Awards and decorations
In 2005, Zinke formed Continental Divide International, a property management and business development consulting company. Zinke's family members are officers of the company. In 2009, he formed the consulting company On Point Montana. Zinke served on the board of the oil pipeline company QS Energy (formerly Save the World Air) from 2012 to 2015. In November 2014, Zinke announced that he would pass Continental Divide to his family while remaining in an advisory role. The Public Company STWA was part of an elaborate fraudulent scheme in early 2000's pitching fake technology devices and posting fake results to inflate its stock price. STWA received formal complaints from the SEC and was forced to stop marketing it fake devices while removing its top leadership. Soon after Cecil Kyte was announced CEO of STWA, now QS Energy, and hyped its new pipeline flow technology following the fraudulent tactics of its old leadership, publishing fake news and completely false claims. Soon after Zinke's exit from the company in 2014, the stock dropped sharply again as it was clear it's pipeline flow technology was not producing results as stated and never would. QS Energy remains a penny stock to this day despite Zinke and his pals making off with millions from the scheme while investors lost everything. After his departure as secretary of the interior he’s now joining new ventures in the energy sector in similar advisory roles.
Montana Senate (2009–2013)
Zinke was elected to the Montana Senate in 2008, serving from 2009 to 2013, representing the city of Whitefish. When he served in the state senate, he "was widely seen as a moderate Republican" but subsequently drifted to the right. Zinke was selected as chair of the Senate Education Committee and promoted technology in the classroom, rural access to education and local control over schools. He also served on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. In his capacity as a Montana Senator, Zinke was also a member of the SEMA-supported State Automotive Enthusiast and Leadership Caucus, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers sharing an appreciation for automobiles.
Global warming and clean energy
In 2008, Zinke stated that he "support[s] increased coal production for electrical generation and believe[s] it can and should be done with adequate environmental safeguards," and that he "believe[s] the use of alternate energy sources and clean coal is preferred over petroleum based fuels." In 2010, Zinke signed a letter calling global warming "a threat multiplier for instability in the most volatile regions of the world" and stating that "the clean energy and climate challenge is America's new space race." The letter spoke of "catastrophic" costs and "unprecedented economic consequences" that would result from failing to act on climate change and asked then-President Obama and then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to champion sweeping clean-energy and climate legislation.
2012 campaign for lieutenant governor
Zinke was the running mate of Montana gubernatorial candidate Neil Livingstone in the 2012 election. The Livingstone/Zinke ticket finished fifth out of seven in the Republican primary with 12,038 votes (8.8% of the vote).
In 2012, Zinke founded the super PAC Special Operations for America (SOFA) to support Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in the 2012 election. The political action committee raised over $100,000 and paid $28,258 to Continental Divide International, Zinke's company, for fundraising consulting. Zinke appointed right-wing commentator Paul E. Vallely, a promoter of "birther" claims and other anti-Obama conspiracy theories, to the board of the super PAC. Zinke announced he was resigning as chairman of SOFA on September 30, 2013, with his friend, former Navy SEAL Gary Stubblefield taking his place. While Zinke's financial disclosure report for 2014 listed him as the chairman of the super PAC, the super PAC had been making independent expenditures in support of Zinke's campaign since November 20, 2013. In 2014, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding coordination between Zinke's campaign and the super PAC. As of December 2016, the FEC hadn't taken any action on the matter.
In 2013, Zinke hosted a radio show in which he engaged with and promoted fringe conspiratorial views, including birtherism (the contention that Barack Obama was not born in the United States). Zinke said on the radio show that he was not sure whether Obama was a foreign citizen and called on Obama to release his college transcripts. Later, in 2016, as a congressman, Zinke appeared on the radio show Where's Obama's Birth Certificate, known for its promotion of birther conspiracy theories.
2014 House election
In the spring of 2014, Zinke announced his candidacy for Montana's at-large congressional district, a seat vacated when its Republican incumbent Rep. Steve Daines successfully sought a seat in the U.S. Senate.
During the Republican primary, Zinke attracted attention for referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton as "the real enemy" and the "anti-Christ." Zinke touted his anti-abortion credentials and received the endorsement of the Montana Right to Life Association.
Zinke won the five-way Republican primary with 43,766 votes (33.25%) and faced Libertarian perennial candidate Mike Fellows and Democratic nominee John Lewis, a former State Director for long-time Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, in the general election.
Zinke prevailed in the general election, winning 55.4% of the nearly 350,000 votes cast statewide.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (2015–2017)
In Congress, Zinke supported the deployment of U.S. ground troops to combat ISIS, "abandoning" the Affordable Care Act, and cutting regulations. He supported a Republican effort to repeal the estate tax.
In 2015, Zinke voted for an amendment proposed by Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack from Iowa's 2nd congressional district that provided for the expansion of the use of digital learning through the establishment of a competitive grant program to implement and evaluate the results of technology-based learning practices. The amendment passed 218–213.
Zinke frequently voted in opposition to environmentalists on issues including coal extraction and oil and gas drilling. He received a 4 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. When President Trump opened nearly all U.S. coastal waters to extractive drilling, rescinding President Obama's protections, nearly a dozen coastal states protested. Zinke visited with the Florida governor and exempted only that coast from drilling.
Zinke has shifted on the issue of climate change over time. In 2010, while in the state Senate, Zinke was one of nearly 1,200 state legislators who signed a letter to President Obama and Congress calling for "comprehensive clean energy jobs and climate change legislation." Since 2010, however, Zinke has repeatedly expressed doubt about anthropogenic climate change; in an October 2014 debate, Zinke stated: "it's not a hoax, but it's not proven science either." During Senate confirmation hearings on his nomination as Interior Secretary, Zinke said that humans "influence" climate change, but did not acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is the dominant cause of climate change.
Transfers of federal lands to states
Zinke broke with most Republicans on the issue of transfers of federal lands to the states, calling such proposals "extreme" and voting against them. In July 2016, Zinke withdrew as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in protest of a plank in the party's draft platform which would require that "certain" public lands be transferred to state control. Zinke said that he endorses "better management of federal land" rather than transfers.
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Natural Resources
2016 House election
In 2016, Zinke ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 7 and faced Democratic nominee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau in the general election on November 8. Zinke defeated Juneau with 56% of the vote.
Secretary of the Interior (2017–2019)
Donald Trump Jr. recommended to his father that Zinke be chosen to be the Secretary of the Interior. Zinke was named as then-President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for United States Secretary of the Interior on December 13, 2016. His nomination was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in a 16–6 vote on January 31, 2017, and he was confirmed by the full Senate in a 68–31 vote on March 1. Among the U.S. Senators expressing support for Zinke's confirmation was Democratic Sen. Jon Tester from Montana. Zinke was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence on the same day. He had previously been courted as a Senate candidate.
The day after his swearing-in, Zinke rode a United States Park Police horse named Tonto several blocks to the entrance of the Department of Interior's Main Interior Building to his official welcoming ceremony.
On May 24, 2017, in the Montana special election to fill Zinke's vacated House seat, Republican nominee Greg Gianforte defeated Democratic nominee Rob Quist, with 49.7% of the vote to Quist's 44.1%.
Rescinded ban on lead bullets
On his first full day in office, Zinke rescinded the policy implemented on January 19, 2017, the last day of the Obama administration, by outgoing Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Daniel M. Ashe that banned the use of lead bullets and lead fishing tackle in national wildlife refuges. Zinke said: "Over the past eight years … hunting, and recreation enthusiasts have seen trails closed and dramatic decreases in access to public lands across the board. It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite. This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community's voice is heard." The regulation was meant to help prevent lead contamination of plants and animals.
The move was opposed by the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and other environmental groups. The rollback was praised by Senator Steve Daines from Montana, the National Rifle Association, and National Shooting Sports Foundation, as well as other "gun rights advocates, sportsmen's groups, conservatives and state wildlife agencies."
National Monument reductions
In April 2017, Zinke began reviewing at least 27 national monuments to determine if any of the monuments could be reduced in size. In June 2017, Zinke recommended that Bears Ears National Monument boundaries be scaled back. In August, Zinke 2017 added the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to the planned list of monuments to be shrunk as well, while also calling for new management rules for multiple national monuments to decrease the number of actions that are prohibited within the monuments.
In December 2017, Trump signed executive proclamations that reduced Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost 46%. These moves prompted several legal challenges. One day later, Zinke issued a report recommending that Trump also shrink two more national monuments—Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada and Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon. Zinke also recommended changes to the management of six other national monuments. These changes were welcomed by Republicans such as Congressman Rob Bishop, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, but condemned by Democrats and environmentalist groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club.
After The New York Times took Zinke's Interior Department to court, it won and got 25,000 documents, of which 4,500 pages were related to Zinke's multi-monument review, and which showed the administration set out to increase coal, oil and gas mining access. The documents also showed that the Zinke administration's new map pretty much matched that previously promoted by longtime Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, whose plan claimed it "would resolve all known mineral conflicts for SITLA [Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration] within the Bears Ears… the real [beneficiaries] are Utah schoolchildren and the people of San Juan County," a claim disputed as hypocritical by the Utah Diné Bikéyah tribe.
In September 2017, it was reported that on June 26, Zinke had chartered a jet belonging to an oil industry executive for a flight from Las Vegas to Kalispell, Montana. Zinke had been in Las Vegas to make an announcement related to public lands and to deliver a speech to the National Hockey League's Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion franchise owned by William P. Foley, a major donor to Zinke's congressional campaigns. The chartered flight cost taxpayers $12,375. Costs for commercial flights between Las Vegas and Kalispell typically start at $300. Upon arrival in Kalispell, Zinke, a native of nearby Whitefish, Montana, spent the night at his private residence, before delivering remarks at the annual meeting of the Western Governors Association the next morning, having lunch with association members, participating in a photoshoot for GQ, and conducting an interview for Outside Magazine. Zinke and his staffers returned to Washington on a commercial fight the next day.
Zinke used private aircraft and performed political duties in relation to an April 1 trip between St. Croix and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Zinke had been in St. Croix on March 30 for an official meeting with Governor Kenneth Mapp during the day, and spent the night at a fundraiser for the Republican Party of the Virgin Islands, where donors of between $1,500 and $5,000 were allowed to have their pictures taken with Zinke. The following morning, Zinke took a private flight costing the government $3,150 to St. Thomas to celebrate the centennial of the Islands' handover to the United States by Denmark.
In December 2017, Politico reported that Zinke had booked government helicopters for more than $14,000 to travel in June and July 2017. One of these trips was the swearing-in ceremony of his successor in Congress; the Department of Interior defended the use of government helicopters instead of a two-hour car drive by saying Zinke would otherwise not be able to fully participate in the swearing-in ceremony. An Interior spokesperson also said to a Politico reporter inquiring about the expenses, "Shame on you for not respecting the office of a Member of Congress." Another of these trips was the use of a Park Police helicopter to have a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence; the Interior Department justified the use of the helicopter over the three-hour car drive by saying "the Secretary will be able to familiarize himself with the in-flight capabilities of an aircraft he is in charge of" and that Park Police staff would "provide an added measure of security to the Secretary during his travel." Zinke dismissed Politico's reporting as "total fabrications and a wild departure of reality" but did not identify any inaccuracies in Politico's reporting.
In March 2018, the Associated Press reported that the Interior Department spent approximately $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in Zinke's office. However, a spokesperson claimed Zinke was unaware of the relevant work contract.
Inspector general investigations and other inquiries
In October 2017, the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) launched an investigation into Zinke's use of three charter flights during his tenure as Interior Secretary. In April 2018, OIG released its report, concluding that Zinke's chartered flight to give a speech to the June 2017 speech to the Las Vegas Golden Knights NHL team was authorized "without complete information" and that the speech was not official business because Zinke did not discuss the Interior Department or his role as Interior Secretary. OIG concluded that the two other charter flights, one to Alaska and the other to the U.S. Virgin Islands, "appeared to have been reasonable as related to official DOI business."
In a March 2018 Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Zinke said it was false that he had taken "private jet anywhere," noting that the charter flights he took were on aircraft with propellers, not jet engines.
As of October 30, 2018, Zinke has been referred to the Department of Justice for investigation by the OIG, including whether Zinke lied to the OIG regarding his involvement in reviewing a tribal casino project in Connecticut. The two Connecticut tribes claim that the Interior Department refused to sign off on the casino project after intense lobbying by MGM Resorts International and two Nevada Republican lawmakers. Zinke said he was interviewed twice by the OIG regarding the casino decision and that he was truthful both times.
Flying of Secretarial flag
Assuming his duties as Interior Secretary, Zinke ordered Interior Department civil servants to fly his official Secretarial Flag over the Main Interior Building whenever he was present in the building, and that of his Deputy, David Bernhardt, whenever Zinke was away and Bernhardt the highest-ranking official present. According to the Washington Post, "no one can remember [the flag ritual] ever happening in the federal government."
In November 2017, it was announced that President Trump, on Zinke's advice, wanted to lift the import ban on elephant and other big-game trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe to the United States. Zinke, himself a passionate hunter, justified himself against critics by saying that he had his best childhood memories of hunting with his father and that he was anxious to promote hunting for American families. Trump and Zinke received considerable criticism for the decision. Critics feared that lifting the import ban would trigger a wave of U.S. hunters, and that the decision would be a major blow to the survival of the elephant species. Two days later, President Trump put his decision on hold, saying that he wanted to better inform himself on the issue. In 2014, before President Obama introduced the ban, 671 elephants, 741 lions, 311 leopards, 1,412 Cape buffalo, and 32 rhinos were killed by U.S. hunters and shipped to the U.S.
In 2017, Zinke took steps to unwind a 2015 plan that protected the greater sage-grouse. The Interior Department sought to change sage grouse habitat management plans in 10 states in a way that could open the sage-grouse habitat to mineral extraction and grazing. These proposals were welcomed by the oil and gas industry and condemned by environmentalists.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Under Zinke, the Interior Department adopted a restrictive interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, issuing a guidance document stating that the killing of birds "resulting from an activity is not prohibited by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act when the underlying purpose of that activity is not to take birds." The move was opposed by a bipartisan group of 17 former top Interior Department officials, including seven former heads of migratory bird management at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who served in each administrations from Nixon to Obama. In a letter sent to Zinke and members of Congress, the former officials wrote that "This legal opinion is contrary to the long-standing interpretation by every administration (Republican and Democrat) since at least the 1970s."
Interior Department employees
In June 2017, Zinke called for the elimination of 4,000 jobs from the Interior Department and supported the White House proposal to cut the department's budget by 13.4%. The same month, Zinke ordered 50 Interior members of the Senior Executive Service to be reassigned, "forcing many into jobs for which they had little experience and that were in different locations." The scope of the move was unusual. One reassigned Interior senior executive, scientist Joel Clement, published an op-ed in the Washington Post saying that the reassignment was retaliation against him "for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities." The moves prompted the Interior Departments's Office of Inspector General to launch a probe.
In 2017, Zinke gave a speech to the National Petroleum Council which said that one-third of Interior Department employees were disloyal to Trump and that "I got 30 percent of the crew that's not loyal to the flag." Zinke's remarks prompted objections from the Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, Public Lands Foundation and Association of Retired Fish and Wildlife Service Employees (which called the comments "simply ludicrous, and deeply insulting") and Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (who said that Zinke had a "fundamental misunderstanding of the role" of the federal civil service).
In 2018, Zinke proposed budget cuts to the Interior Department for fiscal year 2019, mostly from the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey. Zinke's proposed budget would also cut the Land and Water Conservation Fund to $8 million (from $425 million in 2018).
In August 2018, Zinke said that "environmental terrorist groups" were to blame for the 2018 California wildfires, and that the wildfires had "nothing to do with climate change". Fire scientists and forestry experts reject that, attributing the increasingly destructive wildfires to heat and drought caused by climate change. Later that month, Zinke acknowledged that climate change did play a part in the wildfires. Zinke also stated that preventing removal of dead trees has increased the amount of flammable material and hurt timber salvaging.
In October 2018, FOIA requests revealed that Zinke's calendar, which was supposed to cover the Secretary of the Interior's activities, contained glaring omissions. Zinke met with lobbyists and business executives on a number of occasions. Reporting from September 2018 noted that the calendars of Zinke's activities were "so vaguely described... that the public is unable tell what he was doing or with whom he was meeting."
Departure from office
On December 15, 2018, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that Zinke would leave "the Administration at the end of the year"; he later tweeted that he would name the new Secretary of the Interior the following week. According to The Washington Post, Zinke had submitted his resignation the same morning. Zinke himself later posted a statement on Twitter, saying that "I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations…It is better for the President and Interior to focus on accomplishments rather than fictitious allegations." His resignation came just a week after the announcement that former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's departure was announced.
Zinke was facing several federal probes, including the "Montana land deal" in which a foundation of Zinke's and the chairman of energy firm Halliburton, David Lesar, were accused of wrongdoing in relation to a development project in Zinke's home town of Whitefish, Montana. Nicole Ghio, a manager of Friends of the Earth, said in a statement that "Zinke's highly questionable ethics have finally caught up with him."
In January 2019, Zinke began a new job as the managing director Artillery One, a cryptocurrency investment firm founded by investor Daniel Cannon, stating that he was "going to make Artillery One great again." In an interview, he stated that "I'm focused on cyber security, protection of infrastructure and emerging countries that can act as a test bed for new technologies. There is some suspicion that blockchain does not really work. We think it does and we want to showcase the utility and flexibility of the model." The company is working on a test bed project in Kosovo, where Zinke served during his time in the U.S. Navy.
Zinke married Lolita Hand on August 8, 1992. Both had been married before; Hand was a widow with a young daughter, Jennifer. He and Hand also have two children together: Wolfgang and Konrad.
|Republican||Ryan Zinke (inc.)||285,358||56.19|
- Environmental policy of the Donald Trump administration
- List of living former members of the United States House of Representatives (Z)
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- List of Montana State Senators
- Political appointments of Donald Trump#Department of the Interior
- United States Senate election in Montana, 2018
- Whitefish Energy
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- Johnson, Charles S. (July 16, 2014). "U.S. House candidate Zinke amasses more wealth than Lewis". Missoulian.
- Alan Zarembo, Does being a veteran help candidates? A Montana politician hopes so, Los Angeles Times (October 24, 2014).
- "Zinke may have Trumped McMorris Rodgers for Interior secretary". Spokesman.com. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
- "Congressional Meet and Greet – Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT) | Stay Informed | K&L Gates". www.klgates.com. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
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- Murphy, Tim (December 14, 2016). "Trump's Interior Nominee Was for Climate Action Before He Was Against It". Mother Jones. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
In 2010, as a member of the Montana Legislature, he ... asked President Barack Obama and then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to push through sweeping climate and clean-energy legislation.
- Johnson, Charles S. (July 10, 2011). "Livingstone taps Zinke as running mate". Billings Gazette. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Archived Election Results". sos.mt.gov. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
- Redden, Molly (November 1, 2013). "GOP congressional candidate using campaign money scheme pioneered by…Stephen Colbert". Mother Jones.
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- Andrew Kaczynski and Chris Massie, Zinke put birther conspiracy theorist on super PAC board, CNN (April 24, 2018).
- Andrew Kaczynski (April 16, 2018). "Zinke invited birthers, questioned Obama's college records on his radio show in 2013". CNN.
- "Ryan Zinke Announces Statewide Bus Tour". April 30, 2014. Archived from the original on May 18, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
- Molly Redden, Meet the GOP Congressional Candidate Who Called Hillary Clinton the "Antichrist", Mother Jones (February 4, 2014).
- Cameron Joseph, House candidate calls Clinton 'Antichrist', The Hill (January 31, 2014).
- Charles S. Johnson, Zinke's abortion votes draw criticism, but he's pro-life, Billings Gazette (May 4, 2014) (also published in the Missoulian).
- "Montana Election Results". New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- Will Wadley, MT Republicans push repeal of 'Death Tax', KECI (April 15, 2015).
- Christopher Doering, Farm groups urge Senate to follow House and repeal estate tax, Great Falls Tribune (April 16, 2015).
- Coffman, Keith; Johnson, Eric M. (December 27, 2016). "Montana Lawmakers Unite To Denounce Neo-Nazi Rally Plans". Forward. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
- Fletcher-Frye, Jessica. "Loebsack visits Columbus to discuss legislation for rural schools". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
- Frederica, Wilson, (February 26, 2015). "H.Amdt.42 to H.R.5 – 114th Congress (2015–2016) – Amendment Text". www.congress.gov. Retrieved February 14, 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- Juliet Eilperin, Trump taps Montana congressman Ryan Zinke as interior secretary, Washington Post (December 13, 2016).
- "National Environmental Scorecard: Ryan Zinke". League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Egan, Timothy (2018). "Opinion | The Mad King Flies His Flag". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Friedman, Lisa (2018). "Trump Moves to Open Nearly All Offshore Waters to Drilling". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- Chelsea Harvey, Trump's pick for Interior secretary can't seem to make up his mind about climate change, Washington Post (December 21, 2016).
- Chris Mooney & Andee Erickson, Ryan Zinke admits humans 'influence' climate change. But scientists say we're the 'dominant cause.', Washington Post (January 17, 2017).
- Amy Harder & Michael C. Bender, Donald Trump Picks Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary, Wall Street Journal (December 13, 2016).
- Lutey, Tom (July 15, 2016). "Zinke resigns delegate post over public lands disagreement; still will speak at RNC". billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
- Dennison, Mike. "Zinke and Juneau raising big bucks for U.S. House battle". KXLF. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- "Election 2016 Results: Bullock Re-elected Governor, Zinke Cruises". Flathead Beacon. November 8, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- Ioffe, Julia (June 20, 2018). "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr". GQ.
It was Don who recommended that former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke—a fellow hunting enthusiast who once reportedly referred to Hillary Clinton as “the Antichrist”—should be tapped as Trump's secretary of the interior.
- "Trump picks Montana Rep. Zinke for interior post". Associated Press. December 15, 2016.
- Fears, Darryl (January 31, 2017). "Ryan Zinke is one step closer to becoming interior secretary". Washington Post.
- Ashley Killough & Ted Barrett. "Senate approves Trump's nominee for Interior". CNN.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Darryl Fears, Senate confirms Ryan Zinke as interior secretary, Washington Post (March 1, 2017).
- http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, backs interior pick Republican Ryan Zinke". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Pence swears in Zinke as Interior Secretary, Reuters (March 1, 2017).
- Martin, Jonathan; Burns, Alexander (December 16, 2016). "McConnell Eyed Ryan Zinke for a Senate Seat. Donald Trump Had Other Ideas" – via NYTimes.com.
- Haag, Matthew (March 2, 2017). "The Interior Secretary, and the Horse He Rode in On". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- "Trump cabinet member trots through Washington on horseback". BBC News. March 2, 2017.
- "Montana Secretary of State". mtelectionresults.gov. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
- Wolfgang, Ben (March 2, 2017). "Trump's team scraps Obama-era ban on lead bullets". The Washington Times. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- Cama, Timothy (March 2, 2017). "Interior secretary repeals ban on lead bullets". The Hill. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- Reilly, Patrick (March 3, 2017). "Lead shot OK'd for federal lands: what does that mean for conservation?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- Daly, Matthew (March 2, 2017). "New Interior Secretary Zinke reverses lead-ammunition ban". Associated Press. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- "Lead Ammunition Poisons Wildlife But Too Expensive To Change, Hunters Say". NPR. February 20, 2017. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- Fears, Darryl; Eilperin, Juliet (June 12, 2017). "Interior secretary recommends Trump consider scaling back Bears Ears National Monument". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
- Jimmy Tobias, Under threat: the three national monuments in Trump's sights, The Guardian (August 24, 2017).
- Juliet Eilperin & Darryl Fears, Interior secretary recommends Trump alter at least three national monuments, including Bears Ears, Washington Post (August 24, 2017).
- Juliet Eilperin, Zinke backs shrinking more national monuments and shifting management of 10, Washington Post (December 5, 2017).
- Adam Candee, Zinke recommends shrinking Gold Butte National Monument, Las Vegas Sun (December 5, 2017).
- "Oil and coal drove Trump's call to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase, according to insider emails released by court order". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
- Drew Harwell and Lisa Rein (September 28, 2017). "Zinke took $12,000 charter flight home in oil executive's plane, documents show". Washington Post.
- Stanton, Zack (September 28, 2017). "Interior Secretary Zinke traveled on charter, military planes". Politico.
- Ben Lefebvre & Esther Whieldon (October 5, 2017). "Trump's Interior chief 'hopping around from campaign event to campaign event'". Politico.
- Ben Lefebvre (December 8, 2017). "Zinke booked government helicopters to attend D.C. events". Politico.
- Daniella Diaz and Gregory Wallace. "Zinke: Reports on helicopter use a 'wild departure from reality'". CNN. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
- Michael Biesecker & Matthew Daly (March 8, 2018). "Interior spending $139K to fix doors in Sec. Zinke's office". Associated Press.
- Watchdog: Zinke charter flight approved without full info, Associated Press (April 16, 2018).
- Investigative Report on Secretary Zinke's Use of Chartered and Military Aircraft Between March and September 2017, Report Number: 17-104, Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of the Interior (April 16, 2018).
- Miranda Green, Watchdog: Zinke could have avoided charter flight after meeting with Las Vegas hockey team, The Hill (April 6, 2018).
- "Cabinet chaos: Trump's team battles scandal, irrelevance". Associated Press. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Graham Lanktree, Ryan Zinke Says He Never Took a Private Jet Because the Plane He Flew on Had Propellers, Newsweek (March 14, 2018).
- Zapotsky, Matt. "Feds investigating whether former Interior Secretary Zinke lied about East Windsor casino - Hartford Courant". courant.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Juliano, Nick. "Tribe says 'improper political influence' led Zinke to scuttle casino". POLITICO. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Brown, Matthew. "Ryan Zinke denies report that he lied to Interior investigators". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Rein, Lisa (October 24, 2017). "Where's Zinke? The Interior secretary's special flag offers clues". Washington Post.
- Timothy Cama: Trump to allow imports of African elephant trophies, The Hill (November 11, 2017). After targeting elephants, Interior Department puts African lions in the crosshairs, A Humane Nation, (November 16, 2017).
- Eli Stokols, Trump delays policy allowing big game trophy body parts to be imported to US, Wall Street Journal (November 18, 2017).
- Emily Tillett, Trump reverses Obama-era ban on import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, CBS News (November 16, 2017).
- Ashley Hoffman: People on Twitter Are Upset That President Trump Lifted an Elephant Trophy Ban, Time (November 16, 2017).
- Wayne Pacelle: Ending the Madness of International Trophy Hunting of Rare Animals, A Humane Nation, 30. September 2015.
- Lisa Friedman, Interior Department to Overhaul Obama's Sage Grouse Protection Plan, New York Times (September 28, 2017).
- Nathan Rott, Trump Administration Revises Conservation Plan For Western Sage Grouse, Morning Edition, NPR (August 7, 2017).
- Darryl Fears & Dino Grandoni, The Trump administration has officially clipped the wings of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Washington Post (April 13, 2018).
- Hannah Waters, 17 Former Federal Officials to Zinke: Don't Change the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Audubon Society (January 11, 2018).
- Dino Grandoni, The Energy 202: Ryan Zinke's move is not for the birds, say 17 former Interior officials, Washington Post (January 12, 2018).
- Interior chief wants to shed 4,000 employees in department shake-up, Washington Post (June 21, 2017).
- Darryl Fears & Juliet Eilperin, Zinke says a third of Interior's staff is disloyal to Trump and promises 'huge' changes, Washington Post (September 2, 2017).
- Joe Davidson, Interior's 'unusual' transfer of senior executives spurs official probe, Washington Post (September 12, 2017).
- Juliet Eilperin & Lisa Rein, Zinke moving dozens of senior Interior Department officials in shake-up, Washington Post (June 16, 2017).
- Nathan Rott, Climate Scientist Says He Was Demoted For Speaking Out on Climate Change, NPR (July 19, 2017).
- Joel Clement, I'm a scientist. I'm blowing the whistle on the Trump administration, Washington Post (July 19, 2017).
- Tom Kuglin, Montana senators question Zinke's proposed cuts to Land and Water Conservation Fund, May 10, 2018.
- "Ryan Zinke blames 'environmental terrorist groups' for severity of California wildfires". Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- "Climate Has a Role in Wildfires? No. Wait, Yes". Retrieved August 31, 2018.
- Segers, Grace (August 16, 2018). "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke acknowledges role of climate change in wildfires". CBS News. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- Sara Ganim; Gregory Wallace. "Zinke's calendar omissions date back to his very first day in office". CNN. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
- Sara Ganim; Gregory Wallace; Aaron Kessler. "Zinke kept some meetings off public calendar". CNN. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
- Sara Ganim; Gregory Wallace; Ellie Kaufman. "Latest Zinke calendars stripped of most details about his meetings". CNN. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
- "Donald J. Trump on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- Tatum, Sophie; Fox, Lauren; Wallace, Gregory. "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to leave Trump administration at end of the year". CNN. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- Eilperin, Juliet; Dawsey, Josh; Fears, Darryl (December 15, 2018). "Interior Secretary Zinke resigns amid investigations". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- Zinke, Secretary Ryan (December 15, 2018). "I love working for the President and am incredibly proud of all the good work we've accomplished together. However, after 30 years of public service, I cannot justify spending thousands of dollars defending myself and my family against false allegations. Full statement attached.pic.twitter.com/gwo75SA6bM". @SecretaryZinke. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- Riotta, Chris. "Ryan Zinke: Trump announces Secretary of Interior is to step down". The Independent. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- "Ryan Zinke says he's now trying to make a cryptocurrency company "great again"". Vice News. January 25, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- swissinfo.ch, Matthew Allen. "Zinke ditches 'hateful' politics for blockchain future". SWI swissinfo.ch. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Ryan Zinke with Scott McEwen, American Commander: Serving a Country Worth Fighting For and Training the Brave Soldiers Who Lead the Way (W Publishing Group, 2016), p. 207.
- Julie Turkewitz, He Will Soon Run a Fifth of the Nation. Meet Ryan Zinke., New York Times (March 1, 2017).
- "RollCall.com - Member Profile - Ryan Zinke, R". media.cq.com. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- "Members of Congress: Religious Affiliations". Pew Research Center Religion & Public Life Project. January 5, 2015.
- "2016 General Election". Montana Secretary of State. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ryan Zinke.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ryan Zinke|
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Montana's at-large congressional district
| United States Secretary of the Interior
|114th||Senate: J. Tester • S. Daines||House: R. Zinke|
|115th||Senate: J. Tester • S. Daines||House: R. Zinke (until Mar. 2017) • G. Gianforte (from Jun. 2017)|