- Associated Press - Friday, February 23, 2018

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A political watchdog organization says U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appears to have violated a conflict of interest law by meeting with executives of a Montana firearms company in which he holds stock.

The Campaign Legal Center on Friday asked the Interior Department’s Inspector General to investigate Zinke’s actions in relation to PROOF Research, which is based in Columbia Falls.

Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift rejected the group’s suggestion that he did something wrong.

Swift says the former Montana congressman owns 1,000 shares of PROOF stock, worth about $250 to $400 in total value. She described the meeting in Zinke’s office with PROOF representatives last April as a “social call” from fellow Montanans.

The Washington, D.C.-based legal center has filed previous complaints against Zinke including over his use of campaign funds.

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