Politco: Watchdog urges probe of whether Zinke campaign benefited friend, family

Esther Whieldon
Oct 30, 2017
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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s congressional campaign committee bought an RV from his wife then sold it to a friend a year later at a steep discount, a watchdog group said in a Federal Election Commission complaint that alleges an illegal scheme to convert political donations into personal cash.

The June RV sale is one of several transactions the Campaign Legal Center says may have provided illegal benefits to Zinke’s family or friendsThe group also cites hotel stays in the Virgin Islands and New York that Zinke’s campaign paid for after the Montana Republican was tapped to join then-President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet, as well as catering expenses the campaign incurred after Zinke was confirmed. CLC also says in the complaint that Zinke may have relied on a joint fundraising committee to allow donors to give money to his campaign above federal contribution limits.

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"When you combine the disregard for campaign finance laws when Zinke was a candidate with the disregard that Zinke as Interior secretary has shown for the ethics laws, you certainly get a picture of an individual who may not be taking his responsibilities as an officeholder seriously," Brendan Fischer, who submitted the complaint for CLC, told POLITICO.

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