Maybe he was aiming for a solid dozen? Already under at least 11 government investigations into alleged ethics failings, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke likely triggered one more when he announced on his official Twitter account that he’d join Vice President Mike Pence for what appears to be an event this morning with the campaign of Senate candidate Matt Rosendale in Billings, Montana.
Both tweets link to a registration page for an event sponsored by America First Policies, the group set up by members of Trump’s campaign team.
Potential Hatch Act violation aside, Zinke’s apparent appearance certainly won’t help Rosendale explain away his hostility toward public lands — which are already defining the race.
Rosendale has a long history of opposing federal protections for public lands:
- Rosendale repeatedly supported ending federal protection for public lands — calling for “outright return” of federal lands to that state during his 2014 House campaign. [Associated Press, 5/29/14]
- Rosendale called federal ownership of land unconstitutional. [Montana Standard, 4/19/14]
- Rosendale led a bill in the state Senate to transfer federal lands to the state. [House Journal, 2/11/11; Havre Daily News,1/16/11; Bill Actions, H.B. 506]
- Rosendale voted for a bill that created a task force to study transferring public lands. [Senate Vote 1728, 4/20/15; Montana Conservation Voters, 2015 Legislative Scorecard; Bill Actions, H.B. 496]
- Rosendale backed a current wilderness proposal dubbed “the biggest rollback of public lands protections in state history.” [Billings Gazette, 4/28/2018, Missoula Independent, 2/6/2018]
- Rosendale received thousands in oil royalties from Texas billionaires notorious for blocking access to public lands in Montana. [MBA Consultants 1-1 Well #25021211950000; Billings Gazette, 7/21/2016]
Like Rosendale, Zinke tossed Montana values aside long ago when he launched the largest attack on protected public lands in our nation’s history, proposed drastic budget cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and made it clear that he believes Interior’s mission favors drilling and mining over safeguarding our public lands for the next generation.
“Rosendale’s push to take over Montana’s public lands fits right in with the Trump administration’s attempts to sell out our parks and national monuments to drilling and mining companies,” said Clay Schroers, LCV Victory Fund National Campaigns Director. “I’m sure Zinke and Rosendale have a lot to catch up on — but Montanans will make sure their schemes to develop our public lands never become reality.”
Paid for by LCV Victory Fund, www.lcvvictoryfund.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.