Former Secretary Ryan Zinke left Donald Trump's administration in disgrace and marred in scandal after it was revealed he was using taxpayer resources to supplement his fancy lifestyle and a real estate scandal.
Now as he tries to mount a political comeback, he's already raising eyebrows by using a hotel as his Montana address while running for Congress.
Multiple probes tied to Zinke's real estate dealings in Montana were reported by The Washington Post in Dec. 2018, when the Interior Department's inspector general referred one of its inquiries to the Justice Department.
"President Trump announced Zinke's exit via Twitter on Saturday morning and praised the departing Interior chief," the Post report said. "Behind the scenes, however, the White House had been pushing Zinke for weeks to resign, administration officials said. Last month, the officials said, Zinke was told he had until the end of the year to leave or be fired."
Zinke had announced he would likely run for Congress in 2022, though in Nov. 2021, it was discovered he spends the overwhelming majority of his time in Santa Barbara, California, living on his wife's yacht.
Now he's facing another controversy as Zinke's opponent, Tom Winter, took a walk in the Montana winter snow over to the address that Zinke said was his "residence." As it turns out, the residence is a hotel.
"I think it's pretty obvious when you show up in March with a really killer tan that you haven't been here for a long time," Jennifer Fielder said in Oct. She served as a former Republican state senator, but she's now backing Zinke's challenger.
The Snow Frog Inn is owned by an LLC tied to Zinke's family. During a 2013 City Council meeting, those starting the hotel said that it would feature six bedrooms for guests, a kitchen, a living room space and lodge area, the ABC affiliate reported at the time. The Inn was Zinke's family home, but he turned it into a bed and breakfast, meaning he could rent out rooms while staying in Santa Barbara or in Washington.
See the video below:
Stopped by the place that full-time Californian Ryan Zinke is claiming as his residence so he can run for Congress in Montana...and it\u2019s a hotel.\n\nThe king of the grift & most corrupt politician of my lifetime #mtpol #mtnews #mt01pic.twitter.com/kImbveBa25— Tom Winter (@Tom Winter) 1638828586