Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s been under fire on multiple occasions already during his short tenure. Mainly, this concerns his suspicious connections to the tiny Montana company that scored (and completely botched) a $300 million deal to rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid, and Zinke has also been exposed as one of several Trump cabinet members who have been exorbitantly splashing out on private flights on the taxpayer’s dime. The latest Zinke-associated exploit involves news that his new office doors at the Interior Department will cost over $139,000, which has caused many heads to hit desks.
Even when one considers that this amount will cover three sets of double doors, it’s nearly impossible to justify that high ticket price. The $138,670 order was marked by a government database as completed in November (and labeled as “Secretary’s Door”), which presents a terrible look, but Interior Department spokesperson Heather Swift told the Associated Press that Zinke was completely “unaware of the contract,” and she asserts that the upgrade was a necessary part of “modernization” for the building:
“The secretary was not aware of this contract but agrees that this is a lot of money for demo, install, materials and labor. Between regulations that require historic preservation and outdated government procurement rules, the costs for everything from pencils to printing to doors is astronomical. This is a perfect example of why the secretary believes we need to reform procurement processes.”
Swift further asserted that the November date for the order was erroneous, for it’s not yet been completed. She also says that the current door doesn’t even have a lock, which she says will present the need for a “security upgrade,” but even that doesn’t really explain the $139,000+ cost for the project. With that said, HUD Secretary Ben Carson is probably breathing a sigh of relief that people have taken a break from side-eying his $31,000 office dining set.