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REP. BARRAGÁN LEADS DEMOCRATS DEMANDING ANSWERS ABOUT SEC. ZINKE’S HIGH-END TRAVEL
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro), Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and 26 members of Congress sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke requesting answers about several flights he took at the expense of American taxpayers. The letter is in response to The Washington Post story released last week that revealed Secretary Zinke chartered a $12,000 flight on a plane owned by oil and gas executives
In the letter, the members request that the secretary immediately disclose information on all chartered flights taken by him. That should include the costs associated with each flight, the owners of each plane used, who was on each flight, and documentation of the approvals for all flights.
Those signing the letter include a majority of the House Natural Resources Committee Democrats, which has jurisdiction over the Department of the Interior (DOI).
“Secretary Zinke owes Congress and the America people answers,” said Rep. Barragán. “What’s been alleged is a gross misuse of taxpayer money, and it calls into question the secretary’s ability to regulate an industry that he is obviously very cozy with.”
“As a member of the Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Interior Department, I applaud the investigation launched yesterday by the DOI’s inspector general. Still, it is important for Congress to exercise its oversight responsibility,” Rep. Barragán added.
Rep. Beyer said, “Amid confirmed reports of multiple cabinet officials billing the taxpayers for luxurious travel accommodations, the Trump administration owes the country a full accounting of the expenses incurred on non-commercial flights.”
“It is the height of hypocrisy that senior officials in the administration show such disregard for the trust placed in them even as they insult the integrity of rank-and-file civil servants and recommend extreme budget cuts to agencies responsible for protecting the public health,” Rep. Beyer added.
House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva said, “Secretary Zinke, and everyone working for the Trump administration, need to remember that their job is to enrich the lives of the people they serve, not to enrich themselves. This scamming of hardworking taxpayers needs to stop and there should be repercussions for these abuses of power.”
Read the full letter below:
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.