When the new Congress starts Jan. 3, Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee will, for the first time since Zinke took office in March 2017, have the authority to compel him and others at the Interior Department to testify and provide records.
Their newfound power - and zeal to sniff out potential corruption after what they characterize as a dereliction of oversight duties by the GOP - is likely to make life even more difficult for the embattled Interior secretary as Democrats look for potentially embarrassing or incriminating records that could help thwart President Trump's agenda.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee who's likely to wield the chairman's gavel next year, is already promising to probe a controversial business deal that a foundation Zinke established struck with the chairman of oil services company Halliburton, as well as a failed administration attempt to replace the top official in Interior's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with a political appointee.
The announcement to replace the top agency watchdog came after the watchdog referred an investigation into Zinke to the DOJ.
The timing "can't be dismissed as merely a coincidence," Grijalva told Bloomberg on Wednesday. "That's why the oversight is so necessary."
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