The Department of the Interior Office of Inspector General (OIG) could not find any evidence that Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke violated ethical or legal standards during phone calls to two Alaskan senators regarding their votes on health care, the OIG said in a letter Tuesday.
Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking member on the House Committee on Natural Resources, accused Zinke of threatening to cut federal funding to Alaska in calls to Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan after Murkowski voted down a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.
“The OIG … concludes that further investigation would prove unproductive,” the OIG letter, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, states. “Given that both Senators have declined to be interviewed or give a statement, the OIG does not believe it could meaningfully investigate the matter further.”
Zinke called the allegations “laughable” at the time, according to the Washington Examiner.
Sullivan had hinted the calls were more sinister.
“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.
The interior secretary drank a beer with Murkowski following the fallout over the phone calls. He announced the meeting on Twitter with a picture of him and the Alaska senator toasting a couple brews.
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