The Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is investigating Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for allegedly pressuring both of Alaska’s senators to support a Trump-backed health care bill, The Hill reported Thursday.
Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall announced the OIG’s intent to investigate Zinke in a letter to two congressman Wednesday.
Democrat Reps. Raul Grijalva of Arizona and Frank Pallone of New Jersey had asked the OIG to investigate Zinke, alleging he broke federal lobbying laws in his phone calls to Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. (RELATED: Dems Suggest Trump’s Interior Secretary Broke Anti-Lobbying Laws)
Zinke called Murkowski and Sullivan with a “troubling message” ahead of the vote on a GOP healthcare bill, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.
“I’m not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop,” Sullivan told the Alaska Dispatch News. (RELATED: Interior Secretary Meets Murkowski For A Beer And Trump’s Appointees Sail Through Committee)
Zinke said accusations that he threatened cutting off federal funds to Alaska over the health care vote are “laughable.”
The Interior secretary drank a beer with Murkowski Thursday following the fallout over the phone calls. He announced the meeting on Twitter with a picture of him and the Alaska senator holding a couple brews.
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