The Interior Department is fighting back after a report that said Secretary Ryan Zinke spent thousands on helicopter rides to events in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area.
Zinke spent over $14,000 on travel to and from official events, according to Politico.
"It's complete garbage and yellow journalism at its worst," said Heather Swift, a spokesperson for the department, in an email to the Washington Examiner, when asked about the report.
"After a congressional hearing, the Secretary attended an official Congressional event with the new Congressman from Montana (who replaced him) and the Speaker of the House before going to an emergency management briefing," she said. "On the other occasion he did an aerial survey of a power line corridor, which was pending before the Department, while traveling back from meetings in southern Virginia in order to get to a meeting with the Vice President."
In June, Zinke ordered a U.S. Park Police helicopter for travel to West Virginia following Rep. Greg Gianforte's swearing-in. The cost was $8,000, according to Politico, citing travel logs obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Gianforte took Zinke's Montana congressional seat.
In July, the secretary ordered a helicopter to and from Yorktown, Va., to be back in time for a 4 p.m. horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington. That trip cost over $6,000.
Zinke is currently under investigation by the department's inspector general and the Office of Special Counsel for mixing business and political travel.