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Interior Department pays $139,000 to fix doors in Ryan Zinke’s office

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The U.S. Department of Interior spent $139,000 to fix three sets of doors in Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office, a spokeswoman said on Thursday, a move quickly criticized as wasteful by activists.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said that the project to fix the three double doors was requested by career facilities and security officials as part of a decade-long overhaul of the historic building, which was completed in 1936.

Zinke “was not aware of this contract but agrees that this is a lot of money for demo, install, materials, and labor,” Swift said in an email about the work, first reported by the Associated Press.

 
Joe Nassar, the director of Interior’s office of facilities, said the work was needed to stop water from coming into Zinke’s office during rain storms, which was damaging wooden floors in the office. Nassar said bottom panels of the old doors had been temporarily fixed with cardboard and duct tape and were replaced by fiberglass doors with new locks.

Swift blamed the cost of the fix on rules for historic preservation and procurement.

Environmentalists decried the expense, which was more than double the median U.S. household income in 2017, according to the Census Bureau.

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Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said, “Taxpayer dollars don’t grow on trees, but Mr. Zinke and his fellow grifters in the Trump administration repeatedly raid the federal treasury like it does.” 

 
Zinke is being investigated by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on whether be violated the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from engaging in political activity, when he gave a speech to a professional hockey team owned by a political donor last year.

He is also being investigated by the Interior Department’s inspector general in connection with travels and the use of private charter flights.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Trump’s horsewhip-carrying chief of protocol will resign after intimidating State Department staff: report

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President Donald Trump's chief of protocol plans to step down just ahead of the G-20 summit in Japan, according to Bloomberg News.

Sean Lawler, whose job includes assisting the president in diplomatic talks overseas and with foreign leaders in the White House, faces an investigation from the State Department's inspector general for intimidating subordinates, including carrying a horsewhip around the office.

The president reportedly did not care for Lawler, at one point asking officials why he still works at the White House.

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Jerry Falwell, Jr blasted as ‘un-Christian prat’ after trying to defend Donald Trump in battle with Southern Baptist ethics chief

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Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. was ripped online for attempting to rationalize President Donald Trump's detention camps for children.

Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, posted on Twitter an Associated Press story on the "perilous conditions" at a Texas Border Patrol station holding 300 children.

"The reports of the conditions for migrant children at the border should shock all of our consciences. Those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion, especially those seeking refuge from violence back home. We can do better than this," Moore wrote.

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Prosecutors offered indicted GOP congressman a deal to keep his multiple taxpayer-funded trysts quiet — but he refused

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On Tuesday, CNN reported that Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), facing indictment for stealing campaign funds and falsifying spending reports, was offered a deal by to keep secret the incidents in which he used taxpayer money to finance affairs with lobbyists — but he refused.

"Prosecutors told a judge they tried to cut a deal with Hunter to avoid revealing the alleged tryst, but his attorneys refused," reported CNN's Tom Foreman.

The affairs were made public shortly after it was revealed that Hunter's wife Margaret, an alleged co-conspirator in the scheme, was cooperating with prosecutors. Hunter had previously tried to blame the entire scheme on his wife — a claim that looks increasingly dubious.

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