Ryan Zinke

Ryan Zinke Violated Travel Policy, Interior Watchdog Finds
IG report details family member ride-alongs, $25,000 in vacation security

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke invited family members ride with him in government vehicles, an inspector general reporter found. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Interior Department watchdog found that Secretary Ryan Zinke violated federal policy when he let his family members travel with him in government vehicles, although he had reimbursed the department.

A copy of the department’s inspector general report was sent to Congress and was provided to Roll Call by a congressional aide on Thursday.

Trump Praises Gianforte for Physically Assaulting Reporter
‘Any guy who can do a body slam — he’s my guy,’ president says

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte is running for his first full term this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday praised Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte for physically assaulting a reporter on the eve of a special election last year.

Addressing a rally in Missoula on his third trip to Montana this year, Trump at first only alluded to the 2017 incident. “Never wrestle him,” he said after calling Gianforte onstage.

North Dakota Senate Race Could Come Down to Fossil Fuels
The problem? Heitkamp and Cramer have strikingly similar stances on energy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer are vying for North Dakota’s Senate seat. They’re also racing to show off their energy chops. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two candidates in the North Dakota Senate race — a tight matchup with massive implications for control of the chamber next Congress — are touting their Capitol Hill energy policy chops to gain an edge in one of the closest contests of the midterms. 

The race has triggered an escalating argument between vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp and her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, over which one is the best champion of the state’s fossil fuel industries that rank among the most productive in the nation.

Could This Be the Year Montana Sends a Democrat to the House?
Despite winning other statewide races, Democrats have struggled in at-large House district

Kathleen Williams, Democratic candidate for Montana's at-large House seat, addresses the crowd at Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Mont., on Aug. 18. She’s running against Rep. Greg Gianforte, at center. Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman appears at right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

CROW AGENCY, Mont. — It was an odd display. The Republican congressman dancing in a powwow with the Democrat who’s hoping to unseat him this fall.

Rep. Greg Gianforte narrowly won a closely-watched special election last year, earning negative headlines when he physically assaulted a reporter the night before.

Capitol Ink | Plucked Eagle

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.

Federal Watchdog Advises HHS to Recoup Price’s Travel Expenses
20 of 21 trips failed to comply with requirements, OIG finds

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal watchdog is recommending the Department of Health and Human Services recoup $341,000 associated with former Secretary Tom Price’s travel expenses.

The HHS Office of the Inspector General released Thursday an audit that found 20 of 21 trips Price and other HHS officials took during his time in office did not comply with federal requirements. Price, a hardline fiscal conservative during his time in Congress, resigned last September after it was revealed that he regularly chartered private planes for routine business trips.

Senate Democrats: Interior Department Is Snubbing Us on Grant Delay Questions
Grant reviews are response to ‘litany‘ of abuses, senior Interior official says

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is delaying federal grants for increased scrutiny of the department’s financial assistance programs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats say the Interior Department is not answering questions about delays in the issuing of federal grants, a move they contend is holding up money used to fund conservation programs.

“DOI has yet to explain why it hired a high school football teammate of Secretary Zinke’s, who seems to have no relevant experience, to oversee the grant review process instead of improving financial management controls through department experts and career officials,” said Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who led a group of 11 senators in the Democratic Conference in a June 12 letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

Funding for National Parks Gaining Momentum
GOP Senators with competing bills reach a compromise

Parts of a bill from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was included in a compromise bill that would fund national park maintenance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators with competing bills to tackle the National Park Service’s $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog, which has been identified as a top priority for the Trump administration, reached a compromise Friday on a single measure.

The bill from Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., takes pieces from each of the senators’ previous bills to create a new trust fund to pay for national park improvements with revenue from energy production on federal lands.

Kathleen Williams Wins Democratic Nod to Challenge Gianforte in Montana
Gianforte is running for his first full term after winning special election last year

Kathleen Williams won the Democratic nod to challenge GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte, above, in Montana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former state Rep. Kathleen Williams won the Democratic nomination for Montana’s at-large House seat Tuesday.

Williams will take on Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, who’s running for his first full term in November after being elected in a May 2017 special election