Control of the House matters for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly because of the power to conduct investigations. We can’t be sure of how the election will come out, of course, but if the Democrats do take the House, they may have some questions for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Here are a few things they might well want to investigate if that should come to pass:
- What about all those travel expenses? Why did he have to take trips on charter or military planes rather than scheduled commercial flights?
- And what about the charter flight in the private jet of an oil company executive?
- Don’t forget the $140,000 office doors. Yes, after the issue became public, they got the price down to $70,000. But why didn’t they do that earlier, and really, is that a wise use of the government’s money? Nobody is expecting him to use the extra-large aspen doors from Home Depot ($366.76, available in golden oak or maple). But couldn’t they find something nice for, say, $20,000? Or did they consider repairing the old doors, which were apparently damaged during some kind of building-rehab project?
- And why did Zinke meet with the Governor of Florida and immediately announce an exemption from the offshore drilling plan he had just announced earlier? And did that have anything to do with the White House’s hope that the aforesaid governor would run against an incumbent Democratic Senator?
- And how about his use of private email to conduct government business? I have a distant recollection of some woman who got into big political trouble for doing that. Of course, that was long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
- What did he mean when he said that 30% of his staff weren’t “loyal to the flag”? Did he mean they were meeting secretly with the Russians? (Oh, wait a minute, that’s actually no big deal, right?) Or does he think civil servants should be punished for lacking personal loyalty to the incumbent president?
Admittedly, compared to the issues swirling around Scott Pruitt, this list seems a bit tame. Still, there should be plenty to keep investigators busy. Of course, if the House stays Republican, Zinke doesn’t have much to worry about in the way of congressional oversight.
Elections do matter.