The Interior Department’s inspector general has found that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated the department’s travel policy, Politico and The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Zinke confirmed to investigators that “his staff had researched the implications of making [his wife Lola] a volunteer,” the Post reported, quoting the inspector general’s report — an effort, some Interior employees said, that could have been seen as an excuse to pay for her travel.
TPM has reached out to the Inspector General’s office to confirm the report’s conclusions.
The Post also reported that Zinke improperly allowed his wife to travel in government vehicles, and that he told his security detail “to drive an associate to the airport,” in the paper’s words.
The Post added that, per the IG report, Zinke’s decision to take a security detail on vacation with his family to Turkey cost taxpayers $25,000.
The Interior Department on Thursday denied reports — spurred at first by an internal email from Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development — that Interior’s current acting inspector general, Mary Kendall, would be replaced with a HUD political appointee, Suzanne Israel Tufts.
The investigation into Zinke’s travel practices was one of several inspector general probes into his actions as secretary.