A new U.S. government investigation found that former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke misused his position to advance a development deal in his Montana hometown, The Associated Press reports.

  • The investigation said Zinke lied to an ethics official over his involvement in the project, too, according to NBC Montana.
Related
Zinke: No question Bears Ears should be preserved, but how?
Zinke rides with cattle ranchers working on Bears Ears

The news: Interior Department’s inspector general said in a report Wednesday that Zinke worked with a foundation on a commercial project in the town of Whitefish, Montana, after he took office.

  • He said he’d stop working with the foundation once he took up the new interior secretary position, The Associated Press reports.
  • According to the report, Zinke offered incorrect information to an ethics official with the Interior Department, per the AP.
  • “Zinke directed his staff to assist him with the project in a misuse of his position,” the Associated Press reports

The bigger picture: Zinke is considered a leading candidate for the new congressional seat in Montana, according to The Washington Post.

  • “With Trump’s endorsement and strong name recognition in a swath of western Montana Trump carried by seven points in 2020, Zinke is widely favored to win his home state’s new House seat,” per The Washington Post.