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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Friday he had “absolutely nothing to do” with Puerto Rico’s decision to award a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy to restore the island’s power and encouraged an investigation to prove his assertion.
“I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico,” Zinke said. “Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding or influencing any contract involving Whitefish are completely baseless. Only in elitist Washington, D.C., would being from a small town be considered a crime.”
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Zinke has been scrutinized for his potential role in the contract between Whitefish, a small Montana-based firm, and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, because the energy company is based in his hometown. The company had two full-time employees before Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and has contracted with dozens of workers to repair 100 miles of transmission lines.
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“Neither myself nor anyone in my office has advocated for this company in any way,” Zinke said Friday. “After the initial contract was awarded, I was contacted by the company, on which I took no action.”
Zinke encouraged the Interior Department’s inspector...
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