Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has a new job: a more than $100,000-a-year post with a gold-mining firm that’s pursuing project approvals involving the federal agency that Zinke left fewer than four months ago.
Zinke told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his work for Nevada-based U.S. Gold Corp., which focuses on mining exploration and development, would not constitute lobbying. But that company’s CEO cited Zinke’s “excellent relationship” with the Bureau of Land Management and the Interior Department in explaining his hiring.
“We’re excited to have Secretary Zinke help move us forward” on two pending mining projects, in Nevada and Wyoming, Edward Karr, head of U.S. Gold Corp., said by phone.
Karr said one of the mining projects is on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, which is under the Interior Department.
A 2017 executive order by President Donald Trump says executive-branch appointees cannot lobby their former agency for at least five years after leaving their government post.
Separately, criminal statutes impose one and two-year bans on various kinds of communications between senior federal officials and their former agency, said Virginia Canter, chief ethics counsel of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit ethics-watchdog.