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Zinke Dodges Debate After Investigation Exposes Trail of Corruption

Western Congressional debate with candidates Monica Tranel, John Lamb, and Madison County Area Voters; Zinke runs from his trail of corruption

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Thursday, August 25, 2022 

CONTACT: 
Jayson O’Neill, (406) 570-5019

ENNIS, MT —  Montana Western District Congressional Candidates Monica Tranel and John Lamb participated in a community-based debate moderated by the Madisonian newspaper today. Much of the debate focused on Ryan Zinke’s latest investigation and exposé into his trail of corruption, lying, and his notable absence. Monica Tranel continued to expand her Montana-centric campaign by connecting with voters and offering real solutions for working families and Montana’s future.

Tranel is the only candidate with a plan – the Working Families Affordability Plan – to address the affordability crisis, tackle inflation, and rein in federal spending, providing real solutions for Montanans. Tranel has called for debates in each county and tribal community in the new district. 

“Candidates connecting and listening to voters in their communities is fundamental to finding real solutions for working families,” said Monica Tranel. “I’ve put on over 30,000 miles on the trial, criss-crossing the new district and listening to voters, while Ryan Zinke is dodging debates to avoid accountability for his trail of corruption.” 

Additional evidence released yesterday put Zinke in the national limelight for corruption again. “Montana needs a representative who will find solutions to the tough problems facing them, not someone who’s dodging corruption charges at the highest levels,” Tranel added. 

Yesterday, news broke surrounding the latest in a string of federal investigations that found Zinke  lied multiple times to cover up his wrongdoings, including with casino lobbyists. Zinke was invited to attend the debate, but failed to respond to multiple requests to participate in this and other upcoming community forums and debates in the Western District. 

More about Monica Tranel

Monica has been on the trail, meeting and listening to Montanans to find real solutions. Tranel’s already announced a growing coalition of Veterans, Health Care Workers, Teachers, and Republicans joining on the Trail for Tranel. She has amassed over 50 endorsements, including from popular former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, former Republican State Chair Susan Good Giese, and the state’s largest union, the Montana Federation of Public Employees (MFPE). 

Monica has spent her career standing up to corporate monopolies, including two of the largest operating in the state, NorthWestern Energy and Cargill. Monica saved ratepayers millions of dollars when Northwestern Energy tried to saddle Montanans with the bill after their plan failed. She again saved ratepayers money when she got the pre-approval statute deemed unconstitutional. Monica helped a Montana rancher fight back when Cargill tried to steal his private property rights through a complex legal scheme that was aiming to squeeze him out. 

Tranel’s campaign reminded voters about Zinke’s embarrassing and scandal-plagued trail of corruption. Not only did Ryan Zinke repeatedly lie to investigators, at least 10 times according to the latest federal investigation, he wined and dined with casino lobbyists seeking his favor. Ryan Zinke also used his position as Interior Secretary to negotiate a private land deal to benefit himself. Zinke spent tens of thousands of our tax dollars to fly on private chartered flights, including over $12,000 in taxpayer money on a flight from Las Vegas. Ryan Zinke came under federal investigation eighteen times for criminal and unethical behavior and was caught lying to investigators to cover it up, resigning in disgrace after just two years as secretary.


Monica Tranel is on the trail running for Congress in Montana’s newly apportioned Congressional seat. She’s an attorney, a two-time Olympian, and a mother of three daughters. Monica is running because the Montana she grew up in is under attack making it unaffordable for working Montanans. In Congress, Monica will aggressively fight inflation, invest in the middle class instead of tax giveaways to the super rich, and she’ll take on corporate monopolies that are squeezing out Main Street businesses, ranchers, landowners, and working families.

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