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Zinke files disclosure form; lists substantial income, property

Said earlier he didn't have to file until May 2022
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Posted at 1:22 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 15:43:45-05

HELENA — After months of saying he didn’t have to file a candidate financial-disclosure form until next year, Republican congressional candidate Ryan Zinke filed it Monday, reporting almost $800,000 in consulting income and fees this year and family real-estate holdings worth between $7.6 million and $32.5 million.

The bulk of his family’s listed property are held by his wife, Lolita, and her family in Santa Barbara, Calif., valued at $6 million to $30 million, the report said.

He also listed properties in his hometown of Whitefish, bank accounts and stock, for a total value between $8.5 million and $34.6 million. On financial-disclosure forms, congressional officeholders and candidates list only a range of value for their assets, rather than an exact amount.

Zinke, a former Montana congressman and U.S. Interior secretary, is one of at least a half-dozen candidates running in the 2022 election for Montana’s new western congressional district, or District 1. Most of the other candidates have filed their financial-disclosure statements with the U.S. House clerk’s office.

Zinke had said earlier this year that the clerk’s office told him he didn’t have to file until next May – although the requirements say candidates must file a disclosure form within 30 days after raising at least $5,000, a threshold Zinke surpassed this summer.

In an interview with MTN News three weeks ago, Zinke said he planned to file the form as soon as he filed his taxes for this year and made sure the disclosure lined up with his tax information.

But Zinke filed the form with the clerk’s office Monday. His campaign told Lee Newspapers last week that he planned to file the form “in the coming days.”

Highlights from Zinke’s disclosure include:

  • Zinke, who’s worked as a consultant since resigning as U.S secretary of the Interior in early 2019, said he’s been paid $788,000 in consulting fees this year, most of which is from Continental Divide International, a company he created more than a dozen years ago. Most of the income came from three clients: The oil company ConocoPhillips, JVL Enterprises of Dallas and Cyber Range Solutions.    

The form said some of the reported income is “gross income before expense and taxes.”

  • Zinke’s wife has land holdings formerly held in a trust, but transferred to her as the sole owner, worth between $5 million and $25 million. The holdings also have an outstanding loan worth $1 million to $5 million, the report said.
  • Zinke’s other reported real estate is property in Whitefish, including Snowfrog LLC, which he had wanted to develop as a bed and breakfast. Together, the properties are worth between $1.6 million and $2.5 million.
  • Zinke also owns stock in several companies worth $200,000 to $500,000.

Zinke is one of three Republicans running in District 1, which covers 15 western Montana counties, half of Pondera County and the cities of Missoula, Kalispell, Butte and Bozeman. Three Democrats also are in the race.