In the denial of the casino request, Zinke is being accused of denying it on political grounds and the tribe is threatening to restart a lawsuit against the federal government.
The Department of the Interior Inspector General (IG) has referred an ongoing probe of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to the Justice Department for a potential criminal investigation, The Washington Post reports.
The IG investigated Zinke for a 2008 land deal in Montana and for denying two tribes’ petition to build and operate a casino in Connecticut. It’s unclear which investigation was referred to the DOJ.
The DOJ is looking into whether Zinke “used his office to help himself,” a senior White House official told WaPo.
In 2008, a nonprofit Zinke started received a land donation from BNSF Railway in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana. Zinke pledged to turn the land into a “children’s sledding park and community open space in a setting that recognizes the contributions of the railroad and the veterans to the community,” Zinke told Politico in a statement.