Not to the huge surprise of anyone, incoming Democrat House committee chairmen are planning on taking office with a specific administration official in their sights. Fat Jerry Nadler seems to be focused on keeping the Russia Collusion bullsh** flowing. Adam Schiff is going to focus on Ivanka Trump’s emails…I am not making that up. Apparently, Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva is going to make Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke the target of a never-ending stream of investigations. He laid out his marker in this op-ed: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke must resign. His multiple scandals show he’s unfit to serve.
As ranking member, I have sent dozens of unanswered letters seeking information about Interior Department policies and Mr. Zinke’s conduct. Should I chair the committee in January, as I hope to do, those questions will only intensify as part of my and my colleagues’ legitimate oversight duties. If Mr. Zinke stays, stonewalling in the belief that a cabinet secretary answers only to Trump would be a mistake.
Such scrutiny will extend to his successor, who should not be encouraged by Mr. Zinke’s example. Doing whatever you like and then leaving office a half-step ahead of a formal investigation is not public service, especially if you end up working for an industry you formerly regulated. The election results were about clean government as much as any particular policy choice, and the next Interior secretary will be watched as closely as the one before.
The American people need an Interior Department focused on addressing climate change, enhancing public recreation, protecting endangered species and upholding the sovereign rights of Native American communities. These are not matters of personal preference — they are enshrined in law and supported by voters. The department needs someone accountable at the helm who believes in this mission.
Two quick points on this. Zinke can be a superlative Interior Secretary, and in many ways he has been. He started out by blowing up the iron grip progressive senior executives had held on the agency and undertook some much needed reforms that reminded Interior bureaucrats that they do not own the lands they oversee, they merely manage them for the benefit of the American people. Grijalva seeks to return to the bad old days where a handful of powerful leftwing civil servants acted as demigods. The second point is that Zinke is suffering from a series of gunshot wounds to the foot. His scandals are banal and, thus far, much more an appearance problem than a legal one. But one only has to look at the hubris of former EPA administrator–who had the potential to be an utter rock star in dismantling the EPA’s dictatorship–to see that lots of small and individually inconsequential scandals eventually make it impossible for the White House to cover for you.
Zinke took a very short amount of time to respond.
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) November 30, 2018
The “Tune Inn” in the hash tag refers to a Capitol Hill watering hole, the Tune Inn.(Full disclosure–I sort of like the joint, in particular the contrast to the pretentious, hipster infested places that dominate the landscape).
But the meat of the story is basically true. Grijalva seems to be what used to be called a “lush” or a maintenance alcoholic.
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva quietly arranged a “severance package” in 2015 for one of his top staffers who threatened a lawsuit claiming the Arizona Democrat was frequently drunk and created a hostile workplace environment, revealing yet another way that lawmakers can use taxpayer dollars to hide their misbehavior on Capitol Hill.
While the Office of Compliance has been the focus of outrage on Capitol Hill for hush-money payouts in sexual harassment cases, the Grijalva payout points to another office that lawmakers can use to sweep accusations under the rug with taxpayer-funded settlements negotiated by the House Employment Counsel, which acts as the attorney for all House offices.
The employment counsel negotiated a deal for taxpayers to give $48,395 — five additional months’ salary — to the female aide, who left her job after three months. She didn’t pursue the hostile workplace complaint further.
Grijalva’s defense seems to be that he was just a sloppy drunk a lot of the time and didn’t engage in sexual improprieties.
Naturally, Jake Tapper rode to Grijalva’s defense:
4/ What Zinke did not address in his response were any of Grivalja's issues in the oped, including the at least "17 publicly known formal probes of either (Zinke) or his department since he took office" – one of which was referred to DOJ
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 30, 2018
(Read the whole thread)
I don’t know why Zinke would be expected to address Grijalva’s meanderings when they are already the subject of an IG inquiry. I further don’t know why he’d treat with respect anything coming from a guy who has announced his mission is to run Zinke out of office and then stump-break his successor.
It’s straight-up bigotry that amplifies the exact sort of stigma that kills people. https://t.co/YbgYIgSDw8
— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) November 30, 2018
If the guy is an alcoholic, then why in the hell is he in line to be a committee chairman. I could give a flying f*** about his being stigmatized. This is like the EEOC claiming that you can’t fire a they guy driving the truck carrying dynamite who is an alcoholic because alcoholism is a disability.
Two wrongs don’t necessarily make a right, but calling someone a crook without proof and then being offended when they, with documentation, call you a drunk doesn’t wash.
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