Ryan Zinke spent two scandal-plagued years in Washington D.C. as the Secretary of the Interior. After being ousted from his position, largely due to the Inspector General of the Interior Department substantiating charges of financial waste due to personal aggrandizement travel choices (and spending $139k double-doors to keep constituents out of his office), he came back to Montana. This wasn’t the first time, Zinke had to face justice for improperly wasting government money. In the late 1990s, during his career in the U.S. Navy, he improperly billed the U.S. Government for personal travel expenses, for which he was officially rebuked in a “fitness report,” which prevented him temporarily from being promoted or receiving a higher rank. To his credit, he did not attack President Trump after leaving his administration, as so many others. Likely, he knew that his political days were not over and Trump could provide a powerful endorsement.
Prior to his days in Washington, Zinke spent two years in the Washington in the House of Representatives. Prior to this, Zinke served the Montana Senate from 2009 to 2013 (where he coalesced with the Democrat-Wing of the Republican Party, known as the Solutions Caucus, and received a failing grade in party loyalty from the impartial aggregator, Legistats). In fact, he came in dead-last in party loyalty (see below), voting with Democrats 137 times.
Zinke also ran for Lt. Governor in 2012 with Neil Livingstone who spent the bulk of his career working for Washington, was called “An International Man of Mystery” by NBC News. At the time, the Montana Shooting Sports Association mentioned Livingstone had not done any hunting in Montana, which seems to have been a bit of a dig on his roots here (but Gary Marbut can speak for himself). MSSA also indicated the two had a changing track record on guns, but the two had “come to terms” with civilian ownership of certain calibers of firearms (they withheld their endorsement for any gubernatorial candidate that year, including Livingstone and Zinke). However, MSSA did say that Livingstone was considered by many to be a man of good repute, “many of whom are not Montana residents.”
Montana Daily Gazette contacted Marbut to ask what the comment was about, in terms of their opposition of certain calibers, in particular, the .50 caliber rifle owned by many Montanans for long-range shooting. Marbut explained that Zinke had told him personally several times that “no civilian needs to own a gun like that” and opposed their ownership. However, later when running for the U.S. House of Representatives, Zinke sent a hand-written postcard to Marbut saying that he had changed his mind on the subject.
Marbut told MDG, “It seemed like an election-year conversion.”
In 2017 and 2018, Gideon Knox Group – the publisher of the Montana Daily Gazette and other publications – tried desperately to contact Zinke with information relating to the previous malfeasance of his predecessor (Sally Jewell) in collusion with former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to order a copper mining shut-down in Utah (Trump removed the ban in 2020). The copper mines went bankrupt overnight and were bought by a foreign company related to James Riady, the LIPPO group (eventually, the Daily Caller picked up our story). Riady was previously Clinton’s fundraiser and “money man” who was kicked out of the United States after pleading guilty to charges of using foreign cash to affect the U.S. presidential election (and to this day remains good friends with the Clintons and is a financial donor to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation). The information we were trying to get to Zinke was that his predecessor colluded with Hillary Clinton to close down mining, expecting Clinton to win her presidential election in 2016, at which point the mining ban would be lifted and her “money man” would gain billions overnight.
As Montanans, Gideon Knox Group felt sure we could get a response from Zinke to investigate from within his role as the head of the Interior Department and we could help Trump follow through on his promises to “lock her up.” But we never had a single returned phone call, email, or message back from Zinke or anyone in his office. All we were trying to do was help Hillary get rightfully arrested and even as Montanans couldn’t get a call-back or email.
And so, when on Montana Gazette Radio yesterday, host Jim White and myself thought it appropriate to show the difference between Zinke and his opponent for Montana’s second congressional seat when it comes to accessiblity. Zinke doesn’t return emails or phone calls; Washington doesn’t care about Montanans. Would Al answer the phone for us?
MDG has sent Zinke’s campaign an email, asking for a response of some kind. We’ll inform you when they choose to communicate with Montana’s premier conservative (and #1) news source.
Don’t wait up.