Montana Politics Ryan Zinke

Either Ryan Zinke Or His Campaign is Lying Again About His Military Records

Ryan Zinke

This morning, while being interviewed by Professor David Parker, Ryan Zinke gave the most rambling, incoherent evasion of all time when asked to explain why he hadn’t released his full military records. I recommend you start watching the video at about the 1:05 mark.


Asked if he would be “willing to release all” of his military records, Zinke responded by saying:

You know, I sat down with Chuck Johnson of the AP (sic)and I brought my entire military record. As long as people are legitimate, you know, uh, journalists, I have no problem. My record speaks for itself.

That’s problematic, of course, because that’s not what happened—and not what Zinke’s campaign told Chuck Johnson, the legitimate journalist in question. From the Missoulian story four days ago:

However, Zinke didn’t provide the Missoulian State Bureau with any other fitness reports. When asked why, his campaign spokeswoman, Shelby DeMars, said, “I would imagine Ryan has more, but the only ones he has in his possession are the ones that he gave you.” She said Zinke has or has seen only the “competitive” fitness reports when he was vying against his peers for promotions.

As the Cowgirl blog has pointed out, Zinke didn’t even release full information from his DD-214 form, which includes the reason for separation from the military and is typically given as information for future employers.

There are really only a few explanations: either Ryan Zinke lied to David Parker or Chuck Johnson and Shelby DeMars are involved in some conspiracy to make Senator Zinke look bad. Given Zinke’s penchant for calling people liars when his veracity is challenged and Chuck Johnson’s reputation, I’m willing to bet that he didn’t actually bring his entire military record, which he can access quite easily.

All of this generates a few obvious questions:

  • When will Ryan Zinke release his entire military record?
  • Will the “legitimate journalists” in Montana ask for it—and then write stories about his refusal to produce the records?
  • When can we expect stern editorials about Mr. Zinke’s continued, multi-faceted dishonesty?
If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • You know, we have all become so used to Zinke lying regularly, being a braggart and a know it all and sounding so stupid, that I really don’t think anyone even notices anymore. Except, I actually think I heard him say something that sounded truthful in that interview, truthful and even pertinent to running for legislatitive office. He said he’s not the best at things, killing people or blowing things up, but then he said he “surrounded himself with the best, and that’s leadership”. My god ! He finally said something that COULD be true, SOUNDED legitimate and if it is true, speaks to his leadership abilities. I’m shocked. It is the first time I have ever heard him even sound like he was being honest in an interview or a speech…don’t get me wrong, I still think he’s a fool and in no way has Our best interest at heart. He’s a self serving, strange guy, but that was kind of refreshing! Oh, and I’m pretty sure he won’t be releasing his full records…c’mon

  • “He’s a self serving, strange guy.”

    Thank you. I was about to post the same. He’s a VERY strange guy! He should be forced to explain just WHY he chose to run with that idiot Livingscam! And explain in great detail the merits that he thought Livingscam had to make him qualified for the job! You can judge a person by the company they keep. Does ANYONE around here really think that Livingscam would be good for the state? Weird dudes, BOTH of them! Grifters, scammers, and chees merchants trying to get ahead by selling out Montana. Hopefully, the voters will figure it out in time!

  • Yeah…I agree w the comments. When I was a kid, we had; “Things go better with Coke!”, now we live in the 2nd gilded age where; “Things deteriorate with KOCH!” (money)

  • I received a solicitation from Zinke’s campaign for a donation. I duckduckgo his name and found this site. Hmm. Intelligent Discontent. What better place to avoid mud slinging, irrelevant, character assassins than a site with that name. I am making a donation to his campaign.

      • Don:

        FYI, this is from a former SEAL Captain that had direct knowledge of this guy (I have knowledge of this situation as well). Not only has he lied about his Bronze Stars (they were not awarded because of combat), but his career took a major hit after his hands were caught in the cookie jar (submitting falsified travel expenses).

        Additionally, he was a commander with (notice the word “with”)SEAL Team Six. This does not mean that he commanded an actual team. Semantics.

        We need to get the word out about this guy.


        by: Larry Bailey, CAPT (SEAL), USN (Ret.)

        It is most unpleasant to write these words, as I have long considered myself a friend of Ryan Zinke. In fact, he was in the first Basic UDT/SEAL (BUD/S) class to graduate under my command in 1985. I remember him well and thought that he would have a stellar career.

        He did have such a career until he showed a defect in his moral make-up, and the Left is already well aware of what he did, although perhaps not in so much detail as I go into. They will, however, before the general election, so I have decided to anticipate them by providing this statement.

        This information was provided to me by sources personally known to me and to those who were directly involved in the actions involving Ryan.

        What did he do? Simple—he used Navy (taxpayer) travel funds to make multiple trips from Norfolk, VA, to his home in MT, ostensibly to scout out training sites for his squadron. The truth was that he went to work on some family property and, apparently, on one occasion, took two or three other Navy SEALs with him.

        These trips not only involved airfare, but they also involved per diem and personal use of Navy time. To his credit, Ryan, when confronted with his transgressions, admitted his culpability and paid back the funds he had expended.

        Ryan’s moral failings, in my opinion, do not end with his being separated from his SEAL team over the travel scandal. His political career has some questionable acts associated with it, to include his creation (with some heavy-hitting New York and Boston lawyers and PR people) of Special Operations for America (SOFA), a Political Action Committee, back in early 2012. At that time, I sought out Ryan to work with me in establishing an umbrella organization of Special Operations Forces from all the services.

        After looking carefully at the situation in which he was involved, I just didn’t feel comfortable getting hooked up with what was clearly going to be a high-donor operation and possibly geared to Ryan’s future political benefit. That has turned out to be the case, as evinced by the fact that, almost immediately after Ryan declared his candidacy for the US House, he resigned as SOFA’s chairman and was given a grant from the very Political Action Committee he established. That, to me, is not “conflict of interest;” it is “coincidence of interest.”

        The account of what I have read about SOFA having its headquarters in property owned by the Zinke family that is across the street from the Zinke family home, further validates the “coincidence of interest” hypothesis.

        As a retired Navy SEAL officer, I also take exception to the looseness with which Ryan described his Navy career. Depending on which bio one reads, he was “a” or “the” commander in a certain high-capability Navy SEAL Team. He was never a commanding officer and was bypassed for possible consideration for promotion to captain as the result of his travel transgressions.

        He also has stated that former Cong. Allen West has endorsed his candidacy. I spoke with Colonel West personally and learned that, while he spoke kind words about Ryan, he did not endorse him. Subsequent to my conversation with him, Colonel West has made clear that that was not the case and will not be the case during the primary.

        Having seen a heavily redacted copy of Ryan’s DD-214, which is a summary of his military career, I noted that, unlike his claim to have received two Bronze Stars for combat, he actually received them for meritorious service. Neither had the Combat “V” for Valor, which would have been the case had he earned the awards for combat.

        The statement by a retired Navy SEAL Master Chief sums up the essence of Ryan’s character. The man told me personally that Ryan is PNG (persona non grata) at his old SEAL team, primarily for the misleading statements he has made about his rank and importance at that “special” team. That is a sad commentary on a man who had all the potential in the world and has, instead of coming clean about himself and his mistakes, tries to re-write his personal history in order to achieve political office.

        I am certain that Ryan would have acquitted himself well if he had led his men in actual combat instead of being a theater manager of the combat units assigned to him.

        I am sure that Ryan will do his best to rebut these serious allegations. He can prove me wrong by making his unredacted DD-214 available for public examination. I would like nothing better than to have been shown that I was wrong, but that won’t happen.

        Why do I, a transplanted Texan living in NC, want to rupture more than one friendship over Ryan Zinke’s candidacy for the US House of Representatives?

        Simple—Ryan’s ambitions will not stop here. He has shown by his dissimulation of facts regarding his career that he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the next level—in his case, the US Senate. I cannot abide that prospect, because THEN he is representing ME and every citizen of this land as a member of one of the world’s most prestigious deliberative bodies.

        Larry Bailey
        CAPT (SEAL), USN (Ret.)
        Chocowinity, NC (533)

    • Irrelevant character assassination? Really? I thought that service in the military was all ABOUT honor! Seems that if zinke did something less than honorable, shouldn’t he TELL us about it instead of hiding it? What is he hiding that he isn’t proud of? Is he guilty of stolen honor? Who knows? We CAN’T know unless he tells us! I don’t think it’s character assassination at all! I think that we have a RIGHT to know what he’s done, good, bad or ugly! After all, he’s asking for his trust. Why should we not trust but verify be FORE we elect this dude?

    • You sound like an amazing guy. Bright, thoughtful and careful with your money. I’m pretty sure you didn’t really make a donation to that guys campaign, but thanks for the entertainment.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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