How Zinke lost his way


Zinke’s resignation, announced on Saturday, was widely expected, especially after President Donald Trump expressed concern over the Justice Department probe. Zinke, in a Twitter post, declared he was leaving to enable “the President and Interior to focus on accomplishments rather than fictitious allegations.”

But the fall of Zinke over ethics issues — which came in the wake of those of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and HHS Secretary Tom Price — spotlighted the failure of another Trump Cabinet secretary to follow the political guardrails for top Washington officials. Like Pruitt and Price, Zinke was a relatively low-profile politician who lacked any preparation for the close scrutiny he encountered as a senior administration official, leading to more than a dozen investigations of his ethical conduct in 21 months in office.


What is the more difficult question is why Zinke has embraced these fundraising groups, said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform program at the Campaign Legal Center, an activist group focused on transparency in campaign finance.

“Why is the Interior secretary associating with this operation, much less raising money for it?” Fischer said.

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