The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is closing its investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s alleged threats against an Alaska senator during an ObamaCare fight last month, after the lawmaker and her in-state colleague refused to participate in the probe, The Hill reports.
Interior’s Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall said her office “does not believe it could meaningfully investigate the matter further” because Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, refused to be interviewed as part of the inquiry.
“The OIG has conducted a preliminary review of this matter, including investigative and jurisdictional considerations, and concludes that further investigation would prove unproductive,” Kendall noted.
Sullivan told The Alaska Dispatch News last month that Zinke threatened to withhold Interior support for Alaska if Murkowski did not support an ObamaCare repeal bill favored by President Donald Trump.
Murkowski was one of three Republicans to vote against the legislation, which effectively ended the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare.
Democrats and good-government watchdogs urged an investigation into Zinke’s conduct, saying it showed an inappropriate heavy-handedness from the Trump administration.
Since then, Murkowski downplayed the incident, while Zinke said it was “laughable” that he would threaten Alaska over the healthcare vote.