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Zinke connection to Whitefish Energy

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Further scrutiny tonight of the Whitefish Energy contract with Puerto Rico as the FBI launches an investigation.

This comes a day after Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosella demands the energy company cancel its $300 million contract with the Montana company. 

The initial criticism of the contract came when people began wondering how a company that has just two full-time employees, and is only two years old, could secure a $300 million contract.

Couple that with the fact that interior secretary Ryan Zinke is from the same small town, and people began screaming foul.

Today we found another connection between Zinke’s office and the small Montana power company.

Secretary Zinke’s office immediately put out a statement denying any connection between Zinke and Whitefish Energy, stating secretary Zinke knows Whitefish Energy CEO Andy Techmanski "… because they both live in a small town where everyone knows everyone."

But our investigation found Zinke had a past dealing with Whitefish Energy.   Zinke tweeted out a picture of himself when he was a congressman, with John Fuller, his district director for the Flathead Valley.

We spoke today with the city manager for Columbia Falls, Susan Nicosia, who says she spoke with Fuller who was representing Zinke’s office during negotiations with Whitefish Energy and one of its investors, Brazilian-based Comtrafo.  

Comtrafo and Flathead Energy's Andy Techmanski were proposing using the C-FAC superfund site in Columbia Falls as a transformer manufacturing plant.

Zinke’s communications director then, and now, Heather Swift, says John Fuller has denounced this account of the events in the past.

Our attempts to reach Fuller were unsuccessful.

Our investigation is likely fairly shallow compared to the FBI, which has just begun.

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