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Report: Zinke Plans to Resign, Explores Fox News, Energy Company Boards

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at Grand Canyon Nation Park on Sept. 22. U.S. Department of the Interior

From taxpayer-funded trips with his wife to shrinking national monuments for fossil fuel interests, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is one of President Trump's most scandal-ridden cabinet members.

Now, the embattled official, who is facing several federal investigations of alleged misconduct, could be on his way out.


POLITICO's sources said that the cabinet official plans to resign as Interior Secretary by the end of the year. They claimed that Zinke reached out to the conservative channel Fox News about potential employment, and also sought positions on energy company boards of directors or private equity firms, according to POLITICO.

The Interior's press secretary denied the report about Zinke seeking a job with Fox News, calling the rumor "laughably false and belongs in The Onion," in reference to the satirical news publication.

A network spokeswoman also told The Hill that "no one at Fox News has spoken to Zinke about a contributor role."

On Friday, Trump said that he has no plans to fire his DOI secretary but was "going to look into any complaints," The Hill reported.

Even if Zinke's future as a Fox News pundit is uncertain, many would be happy to see him out of his government job. Zinke has faced numerous calls for resignation from environmental groups and fellow lawmakers for his anti-environmental policies.

The former Montana congressman spent much of his time at the Interior opening public lands to oil and gas drilling, and was recently linked to a development project with David Lesar, the chairman of the oil giant Halliburton.

Since taking office, Zinke has racked up 17 federal investigations into his behavior, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Several of the investigations have closed but he is currently the subject of six open investigations by federal agencies and Congress, CREW said.

"After spending nearly the last two years being forced to watch Ryan Zinke sell-out our public lands and break ethical norms and possibly laws, we needed a good laugh," Sierra Club Our Wild America director Lena Moffitt said in a press release in reaction to POLITCO's report. "But as a former representative himself, Zinke shouldn't forget that the House's power of subpoena extends all the way to cable television."

Democratic New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone—who will likely be the new chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee after the Democrats took control over the House after the midterm elections— promised to "conduct vigorous oversight of the Trump Administration so Washington works again for the people not the special interests."

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