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Home / US / Interior Minister Ryan Zinke violated the department's travel policy, concluded the agency's Watchdog

Interior Minister Ryan Zinke violated the department's travel policy, concluded the agency's Watchdog

BREAKING: Interior Minister Ryan Zinke violated the travel policy of the Authority, the Authority's Authority closed.

The Home Office watchdog noted that Zinke violated departmental policies by allowing his wife to drive in government vehicles and directing his security detail to drive an employee to the airport.

The decision to take an unarmed security detail on his overseas vacation cost taxpayers $ 25,000, the report found

This is a developing story. It will be updated. Interior Ministry officials said on Thursday that they did not approve the appointment of a political appointee as the Agency's Deputy Watchdog and announce their move by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson "100 percent false information."

The Retracing from Suzanne Israel Tufts' move two days after being widely investigated further questions how and why she should allegedly head the Office of the Inspector General of Interior, which is currently conducting at least four investigations on Minister Ryan Zinke. Last week, the investigators issued two documents against subjects bound to the probes, two persons who were familiar with the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly.

The commotion over the Inspector General of Interior came The office sent its last report to Capitol Hill and examined Zinke's trip and that of his wife Lola. The bureau concluded that staff members of the Lolita Prison Law Office and other persons traveling with Minister Zinke in government vehicles "approved," although domestic policy prohibited this practice. Zinke also confirmed to the investigators that "his staff had investigated the implications of making them a volunteer" and other employees expressed concerns that this could be seen as a way to cover their travel expenses.

Zinke "denied that it was an effort to circumvent the call to replace the DOI for their trip," the report said.

Critics of the administration said the report, which also revealed that taxpayers paid $ 25,000 to send an unarmed security detail with the zinc on their vacation to Turkey summer, documenting a breach of public confidence.

"This report shows Minister Zinc's stubborn determination to use his office for personal gain, even going so far as to lie to Interior's chief attorney to justify his wife's journey," said Jen Rokala, executive director the Center for Western Priorities, an interest group. "Secretary Zinke owes the Americans an apology – and a refund."

Top White House officials said they had not been alerted to Tufts, a Queens attorney who worked on President Trump's campaign and served as Deputy Secretary of the HUD since December ,

"Ms. Tufts is not hired by the department, and no decision has ever been made to relocate her to Interior," Agency spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement on Thursday.

And in a flashy public reprimand from another Cabinet agency led by Zinke's close friend, Swift wrote that the HUD "sent out an email with 100 percent false information." She confirmed that Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall, who has been in charge of the office for nine years, is still on the job] In an e-mail on Friday with the subject line "A Fond Farewell," Carson wrote: "With mixed feelings, I announce that Suzanne Israel Tufts, our assistant secretary for administration, has decided to leave the HUD to become Acting Inspector General of the Interior Ministry. "

" I am extremely grateful to Suzanne for her services to the HUD and I am confident that she will be in will succeed in their new role, "Carson added.

Swift said that Tufts of the W House "considered a potential candidate" for a position in the Inspectorate General. Swift did not say which position. "At the end of the day, she was not offered a job at Interior."

HUD officials did not respond to a request for comment. Tufts could not be reached.

The turnaround came after criticism from legislators on Capitol Hill and watchdog groups of something that seemed to be an unorthodox agreement between the agencies to mandate a political appointee to oversee Kendall came. Former President Barack Obama nominated them for the position of Inspector General, but the Senate never voted it. Tufts is a former adviser who has no experience as an investigator and would have headed one of the most active Inspector General of the Government.

Kendall is conducting at least four investigations into Zinc's behavior, including his involvement in a Montana land deal and its activities in connection with the bid of two Connecticut tribes to open a new casino

In an interview, the deputy said Home Secretary David Bernhardt said he had built up a good working relationship with Kendall, but that departmental head scouting for someone could nominate the president to serve on a permanent basis.

"Mary would agree that it would be good for the Inspector General to be a President-appointed, Senate-approved person," Bernhardt said. "I think she would agree that the job since [former Inspector General Earl] Devaney has been vacant for nearly a decade, which is not good, because that's not how we run the country."

Tufts & # 39; s appointment, the Carson HUD staff announced last Friday came to light this week through reports in the Washington Post and elsewhere. White House officials who talked about anonymity to discuss personnel matters said the move was a surprise for them.

Interior Ministry officials denied Tufts hiring until Thursday, stating instead that the vacancy had been vacant for nearly a decade and that any announcement would come from a White House Senate nomination.

While presidents have the right to both recruit and fire inspectors in general, the General Inspectorate Act of 1978 states that candidates should be elected "without consideration" for political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity and proven accounting skills, Auditing, financial analysis, law, management analysis, public administration or investigations.

Michael Bromwich, who served as Inspector General in the Ministry of Justice from 1994 until 1999, as well as director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from 2010 to 2011, called Tufts Rental "Most Unusual." [1965] 9028] "The statute states that This is an impartial position among political leaders alone, and it must be permanently staffed by those with an appropriate background, "said Bromwich." It is a real violation of the protocol, someone who has only one qualification, political to the Trump administration

Apart from the fact that she has a law degree, it is unclear what specific aspect of Tufts qualifies her for the job of the Inspector General. Her CV, written by the American Oversight Interest Group on the Freedom of Information Act, shows that she volunteered for "Trump-Pence 2017" in the training and deployment of lawyers on the committed to this area.

Tufts wrote that she collaborated with the Republicans National Lawyers Association on behalf of the Trump-Pence campaign in Philadelphia and New York State. In addition, according to her CV, she was "responsible for the recruitment and training of 20% of the lawyers who were sent into the field."

Rep. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), The top Democrat in the House's Natural Resources Committee, asked why the government changed its story on the appointment of Tufts.

"What is their job there? If they are trying to blame for their last scandal and backtrack while there is still time, they should just say it, no one buys that explanation either way and we will not stop to seek answers. "

Tracy Jan and Robert O & #; Harrow have contributed to this report.

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