Ryan Zinke Rips Us Off One More Time

When his political career inevitably hits its end over a scandal he can’t escape, Ryan Zinke should absolutely pitch a show to the Travel Channel. I’m in the early stage of brainstorming titles, but currently, I like Commander Z Travels on Someone Else’s Dime or If You Can’t Drain the Swamp, Fly Over It. Based in scenic Santa Barbara, the show would feature Mr. Zinke traveling to locations across the globe and seeing just how far he can get without paying for any of his trips. Wacky hijinks are almost certain to follow.

Whether it’s a family junket to Greenland, a private jet flight to Kalispell, or defrauding the military, Secretary Zinke has racked up a travel record unmatched by the most frugal of adventurers, usually getting the American taxpayer to bear the costs of his grandiose travel ambition.

The latest? News from Politico that Zinke spent over $14,000 on government helicopters to fly himself to events near Washington, D.C. From the Politico report:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent more than $14,000 on government helicopters this summer to take himself and staff to and from official events near Washington, D.C., in order to accommodate his attendance at a swearing-in ceremony for his replacement in Congress and a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence, according to previously undisclosed official travel documents.

No word on whether Zinke managed to wear his hat the right way during this ride with Pence or if the helicopter needed to be modified to display Zinke’s personal flag as Secretary of the Interior, but one presumes the answer is “no” to the former and “yes” to the latter.

Where Zinke acquired his taste for expensive, private travel is an issue we’re going to explore at a later date, but one thing is very clear: now that the Secretary has acquired a taste for the finer things in life, it seems he’s forgotten who he was chosen to serve in government. Or never knew it at all.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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