Watchdog says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke failed to properly document travel

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has failed to keep complete records — and in some cases kept none at all — of his travel since taking office, the agency’s watchdog told department officials this week, saying that management of Zinke’s travel was “deficient” and lacked oversight.

A rare alert sent by Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall to the secretary’s office Wednesday, obtained by The Washington Post, said her investigation into allegations of improper travel practices by Zinke has been stymied by “absent or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips.”

Interior lawyers and ethics officials also have not shown evidence to investigators that they have been able to “distinguish between personal, political and official travel” or cost-analysis documents to justify his choice of military or charter flights, Kendall wrote.

The memo reveals that the inspector general is also scrutinizing the travel of Zinke’s wife, Lola, who often accompanied him on official trips. Kendall wrote that the department’s documentation was so lacking that investigators cannot determine “the full extent” of Lola Zinke’s travel and how it was paid for.