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It’s Not the Crime. It’s the Cover-Up: The Curious Case of the Snowfrog Inn

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One of the famous political truths that emerged after Watergate was the idea that what usually ends up doing in politicians is not the original crime, but the effort to hide it. Inevitably, someone will make a clumsy mistake that draws the attention of a journalist or citizen, leading to an investigation of the underlying scandal. It seems Ryan Zinke is making an effort to clean up some mistakes now that people are openly questioning online about his residency status.

You’ll remember that exactly a week ago I published a post suggesting that Congressman Zinke no longer lives in Whitefish, and that he has moved with his family to Santa Barbara. There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that suggests my claim is true, from campaign fundraisers to the apparent absence of a home for the Zinkes in Whitefish, who own no property in their own names here in Montana.

One of the strangest elements of the story is the Snowfrog Inn, a Zinke family project for a number of years. While the web site has been up for months, promising that the Inn would open soon, it was clearly never developed, never opened, and never running as a business. For most of the year, a web site promising to open soon encouraged visitors to check out the property. When I attempted to book, I was never able to successfully connect using e-mail or the phone number listed for the site.

Now, a week later, the Snowfrog Inn web site has changed, for the first time in months. Those who visit the site now are told that the”website is under maintenance” and thanked for their patience.

That doesn’t change that the Zinkes don’t own property in their own name in Montana and don’t seem to have a house here. That doesn’t change the fact that tipsters report that the Congressman doesn’t appear to ever stay in Whitefish or the fact that his family is rarely seen in the area. It just changes a web site.

Updating the web site for the Snowfrong Inn doesn’t prove that Congressman Zinke lives in the state he represents, but it does show that he’s concerned enough about the rumors to tighten up his cover story.

It’s time Congressman Zinke to come clean and tell Montanans just where he lives, and just who he represents.

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.

About the author

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.

27 Comments

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  • Why isn’t this more of an issue in the campaign? Denise Juneau needs to make a TV ad with this information. It’s outrageous!

  • zinke’s excuse for living in santa barbara is because of his mother in law’s health issues yet his mother in law has lived in a virginia beach nursing home for going on two years. both of zinke’s sons live in santa barbara probably by themselves much of the time.

  • I wrote Representative Zinke an email regarding his place of residence, I asked for specific answers, not a general, aide written response. I received a general response. Karen has it correct, Denise Juneau should make this an issue.

  • But…..but……but Slinky the Barking Seal is on a special seal type mission to Californyeeha! This is what seals do!

    Incredible. I gotta tell ya that this takes the cake. There is NO reason that a congressman should reside in another state. NONE! Sick relative my butt!

    Again, Slinky no longer cares what anybody thinks, especially the people of Montana. Being the Barking Seal, he firmly believes that he is above reproach. And in this he just might be right. But it is new territory even for the Pubbies. And a new low. If Slinky can do it, why not all the OTHER ReePubes out there? Good question, right?

    And where is the press on this? Hiding under their desks until they get orders from corporate? I’ll bet that’s where Ecke is! They don’t call it the GF Spitoon for nutin’!

  • Kansas Senator Pat Roberts does the same thing, only he just rents a recliner in a donors home. Apparently he is still in office.
    Don’t let Montana go the way of Kansas, vote this guy out of office.

  • Many politicians of both parties have questionable residency practices. Therefore, there tends to be a live and let live approach. The more important issue is what Zinke does for, or to, Montana, in Washington, D.C.

    • Sorry, James, but I disagree. ANY one who lives Californyeeha does NOT have Montana values. Period! Slinky is a pretender to the throne. I mean, just what the freakin’ HELL do we have in common with the folks in Santa Barbara? Nuthin’ I would say. Hell, even Ginaforte lives here fercrhissakes! Why can’t Slinky? Ginaforte OWNS property here! He has a vested interest. Slinky does not.

      Nope. Sorry. Where is rickard ecke and the GF Spitoon on this one? Slinky has spent his ENTIRE ADULT LIFE some place other than Montana. Hence, a river of bullsh*t runs through this moron!

      • Ed, L.K., see comment by Hermes Iordanous. Zinke owns a place on Bitterroot Lake.

        I think that satisfies Article I, Section 2.2:

        No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

  • Quick fact check via a search of Flathead GIS reveals Zinke owns a place out on Bitterroot Lake, along with two family members. Probably used as a vacation place, but it does debunk your point that Zinke doesn’t have any property in MT in his name.

  • The address listed on his candidacy filing with the Montana Secretary of State is a post office box in Helena. Wonder whose it is?

    • But…………but…………..but! So does EVERy other rich otta stater! That DON’T make the Barking Seal a resident now, does it? Sheesh. Head on down to West Yellowstone and see how many rich inbred outta staters own homes there that they reside in for what, maybe three weeks in the summer. Guess that THAT makes them residents too! I’m sure that they share our values, right? They’re missin’ digits and walkin’ kinda funny from gettin’ busted up on the job too, right?

      Too funny.

      Get a clue, dude. Slinky is NOT one of us. He’s corporate fascist the whole way!

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