The top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee said Tuesday that he has moved past personal attacks by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and he would keep investigating Zinke's tenure despite his resignation.
Asked by CNN's Erin Burnett whether he would move on from Zinke's insults, Grijalva said yes.
Environment and natural resources
Government and public administration
Government bodies and offices
Government organizations - US
US Department of the Interior
US federal departments and agencies
US federal government
Political Figures - US
US Democratic Party
US House of Representatives
US political parties
"Yes, because I think ... he's got serious problems that he has to deal with in terms of the investigations, in terms of the oversight our committee is going to do," he said on "Erin Burnett OutFront." "The issue is Interior, the issue is conservation, the issue is science, and the issue is our jurisdiction in protecting the many interests we have there, including Indian Country -- so that's the job ahead."
"This is coming from a man who used nearly $50,000 in tax dollars as hush money to cover up his drunken and hostile behavior. He should resign and pay back the taxpayer for the hush money and tens of thousands of dollars he forced my department to spend investigating unfounded allegations," Zinke wrote in the tweet.
Grijalva was cleared of any wrongdoing in the settlement Zinke was referring to and the Arizona Democrat called the allegations "all fraudulent."
The ranking Democrat -- and likely committee chairman when Democrats take the House majority in January -- said the House Natural Resources Committee would be seeking changes within a department that he said is "always about energy extraction" and led by people with "severe conflicts of interest, both inside Interior with Zinke and with other people that are part of his administration."
"We're going to be seeking some balance, bringing conservation and science back into the equation," Grijalva said. "That's going to be the effort and that's going to require on occasion that we dig a lot deeper than just the surface material we get from Interior."
Zinke "is gone, but I don't think the culture in the place has changed so much these last two years ... we have to go after that culture, too," the congressman added.
When asked by Burnett if he would continue his exchanges with Zinke on a personal level, Grijalva said no.
"What's the point?" he said. "You reach that conclusion, he's gone, but his decision and the way he reached those decisions are still open to public review and public scrutiny."
- House Democrat says investigations await Interior Department despite Zinke's resignation
- Sources: Justice Department investigating Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
- Democrats call for investigations into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, National Park Service
- Interior docs show Zinke brought security detail on Mediterranean vacation
- Inspector general reports coming soon on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
- Interior watchdog report: Zinke travel 'generally followed' policy
- Interior Secretary Zinke kept some meetings off public calendar
- Interior watchdog says Zinke did not improperly redraw monument's border
- Ryan Zinke's departure may not mean major changes for Interior Department
- Sources: Interior secretary under investigation