Speed Reads

Trump Team Travel Travalis

Documentation for some of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's travels is 'absent'

Much of the required documentation for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's official travel is "absent or incomplete," Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall wrote in a memo obtained by The Washington Post. Kendall further noted that Department of the Interior's lawyers and ethics officials are unable to "distinguish between [Zinke's] personal, political, and official travel."

Zinke is not the only one under the microscope — the deputy inspector general is also probing the travel of Zinke's wife, Lola, who often traveled with her husband. The "full extent" of Lola's accompaniment is unclear, as is how it was paid for.

Many members of President Trump's Cabinet have been scrutinized over their travel on taxpayer dollars, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who eventually resigned after racking up $500,000 in charter flights. The Treasury Department inspector general found that Secretary Steven Mnuchin's seven flights on military planes were all legally approved but suggested that the $811,798 cost to taxpayers was poorly justified.

Zinke's travels flagged attention after he chartered an oil executive's private plane, costing taxpayers more than $12,000. Interior records show that Zinke has also met with political donors or groups more than half a dozen times while on taxpayer-funded department trips, including one visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is illegal to use government resources for partisan ventures.

Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt wrote Kendall to assure her that the records of who paid for the Zinkes' travel would be turned over. He additionally "blamed the Obama administration for any record-keeping issues," The Washington Post reports.