Interior watchdog refers Zinke probe to Justice Department - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Interior watchdog refers Zinke probe to Justice Department

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Interior Department's internal watchdog has referred an investigation of Secretary Ryan Zinke to the Justice Department, signaling a potential escalation amid a series of inquiries into Zinke's conduct.

Two people familiar with the investigation said Interior's office of inspector general referred a case to Justice. It is not clear what the investigation is focused on.

Zinke faces a number of probes, including one centered on a Montana land deal involving a foundation he created and the chairman of Halliburton, a prominent energy services company that does business with Interior.

Investigators also are reviewing Zinke's decision to block two tribes from opening a casino in Connecticut and his recommendation to shrink a Utah national monument.

Zinke denies wrongdoing. The Justice Department referral was first reported by The Washington Post.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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