Former US Interior boss takes job at investment company

BILLINGS, Mont. — Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday he's "glad to be out of the swamp" after taking a job at a private investment company in the wake of his resignation and amid unresolved ethics investigations into his actions while in President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

North Carolina-based Artillery One said Monday that Zinke had been hired as its managing director to pursue "investing opportunities" in energy, financial technology and cybersecurity. Company chief executive Daniel Cannon declined to identify any of the firm's clients or any investment projects in which it has been involved.

Zinke told The Associated Press he had "joined a winning team" following his previous service as a Navy SEAL, a Republican state lawmaker and Montana's sole member the U.S. House of Representatives. There has been speculation Zinke would run for Montana governor, although he said recently he won't be seeking public office in the next election cycle.

"I am glad to be out of the swamp and free from the chains of office," Zinke said in a text message.

Cannon and Zinke declined to give further details on the terms of his new employment.

After spending almost two years leading an agency that oversees 500 million acres of public lands, Zinke announced his resignation from the Interior Department last month and left the post on Jan. 2. He's denied any wrongdoing amid investigations into his private business dealings, a decision to block a tribal casino and other matters.

Zinke's tenure in President Donald Trump's Cabinet was marked by a shift toward policies more favorable to the oil and gas industry. Artillery One cited his "expertise in the energy and technology sectors" as a reason for his hiring.

Democrats in Congress have said they plan to hold hearings in coming months examining Zinke's time at Interior, including his recommendation to reduce the size of some national monuments.

Artillery One said in its announcement that Zinke would be based in Montana and California but travel extensively abroad and follow President Donald Trump's agenda of promoting economic development.

Zinke officially started with the Highlands, North Carolina, company on Jan. 12, Cannon said in an email.

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