Various federal paperwork filed by Republican Montana House candidate Ryan Zinke and his wife appear to establish the couple’s primary residence is in Santa Barbara, California, not 1,300 miles away in Montana, Politico reports.
Best known as the corrupt Interior Secretary under Donald Trump who required the rarely-used Interior Secretary’s official flag to be flown in any Department building he entered, Zinke controversial time leading the agency included saying he wanted to fire all employees who were not loyal to Trump and that 30% of Department employees “weren’t loyal to the flag.” He was ultimately run out of office after racking up tens of thousands of dollars in extravagant travel expenses.
Zinke and his wife Lolita have filed multiple federal documents, not related to the election, which confirm their primary residence is in tony Santa Barbara, not rugged Montana. Those documents include tax returns, business licenses, and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Zinke’s own campaign uses the Santa Barbara residence for fundraising mailings, and the federal records of campaign donations made by Lolita certifies she lives in Santa Barbara.
“No matter how creatively you word it, Ryan Zinke does not live in or own property in California,” the spokesperson said in a statement. [Narrator: “The Santa Barbara house the Zinkes reside in is Lolita’s personal property.”] “He lives in Whitefish where he grew up, graduated high school, his sons graduated high school, and has lived his entire life — and his records prove that. Ryan supports his wife’s decision to keep her late parents’ property, which she is the sole owner. Any husband worth his salt would do the same.”
There is no federal law that requires candidates for federal offices to live in the state; a Constitutional reference to it–candidates must reside in the state they’ll represent on Election Day, it says (“[W]hen elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”)–but Montanans have a history of rejecting people without strong connections to the state.