Montana Democratic Party Seeks Information Regarding Ryan Zinke’s Alleged Use of Taxpayer Dollars for Personal Travel
Zinke Failed to Heed Calls for Transparency, Has Not Released Records
(Helena, MT) - After repeated calls for U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke to release his military records, the Montana Democratic Party today filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the U.S. Department of the Navy. The request seeks to obtain never before seen documents related to allegations that Zinke misused taxpayer dollars for personal travel.
“We request any letters of reprimand related to media reports where Ryan Zinke did not deny using taxpayer dollars for personal travel while a Navy SEAL,” said James Scott Wheeler, Colonel (Ret.) and treasurer of the Montana Democratic Party, in the request. “While some of Mr. Zinke's military records have been released to date, they are heavily redacted and fail to fully inform the voters of Montana. Montanans deserve transparency.”
The incident of misusing taxpayer dollars is not the first time Zinke has faced ethical questions. Zinke faces multiple FEC complaints over alleged illegal in-kind contributions and coordination between Zinke and SOFA PAC, a super PAC he created in 2012 to support Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
SOFA PAC spent $200,000 in support of Zinke’s primary campaign and nearly $50,000 in attack ads on one of his top challengers, Matt Rosendale of Glendive.
The FOIA inquiry also outlines the urgency of the request, “Due to the fact that Ryan Zinke refers to his military background as the cornerstone of his campaign for U.S. House this November, there is an urgency to fully inform the public about Ryan Zinke's record in the military.”
Full text is available below and online here:
July 15, 2014
FOIA Contact Chief of "Naval Operations
2000 Navy Pentagon Washington, DC 20350-2000
Dear Ms. Patterson,
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. We respectfully request the following records:
The Official Military Personnel File including all unredacted Fitness Reports and Counseling forms, the Cumulative Record Of Training, the Background Summary, Officer Personnel Action Requests and Form DD-214, for Ryan Zinke. In addition, we request any letters of reprimand related to media reports where Ryan Zinke did not deny using taxpayer dollars for personal travel while a Navy SEAL.
Ryan Zinke is a candidate for U.S. Congress in Montana and claims to have served in the U.S. military from 1985 to 2008.
Due to the fact that Ryan Zinke refers to his military background as the cornerstone of his campaign for U.S. House, this November, there is an urgency to fully inform the public about Ryan Zinke's record in the military. While some of Mr. Zinke's military records have been released to date, they are heavily redacted and fail to fully inform the voters of Montana/ Montanans deserve transparency.
The requested documents will be made available to the general public.
I also ask that this request be fulfilled electronically, preferably by e-mail, unless prohibited by statute.
Thank you in advance for your help in informing the voters of Montana as to Ryan Zinke's record in the "U.S. military and making his unredacted records public.
We look forward to receiving your response to this request as soon as possible.
James Scott Wheeler
Treasurer, Montana Democratic Party