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.