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The Yankees have been

An independent watchdog has cleared Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke of wrongdoing when he gave a speech to a National Hockey League team owned by a campaign contributor.

 

The Office of Special Counsel said Zinke’s June 2017 speech to the Vegas Golden Knights did not violate the Hatch Act <a title="Youth Cassius Marsh Jersey" href="http://www.the49ersfootballauthentic.com/cassius-marsh-jersey-authentic">Youth Cassius Marsh Jersey</a> , a federal law that prohibits executive branch officials from engaging in political activities. The team’s owner, Bill Foley, contributed to Zinke’s Republican congressional campaigns and to President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The special counsel also cleared Zinke in two other related complaints in which he was accused of mixing political and official business. The office investigates whistleblower complaints against the executive branch.

In a May 31 letter obtained by The Associated Press, the special counsel’s office said Zinke addressed the team in his role as Interior secretary and spoke about leadership and the importance of teamwork. There’s no evidence that Zinke gave a political speech or otherwise engaged in political activity, the letter said.

Zinke’s speech has drawn scrutiny because of the political contributions by the team’s owner and because Interior spent more than $12,000 on a charter flight from Nevada to Zinke’s home state of Montana for a speech the next day. Zinke has said no commercial flight was available for the late-night flight that allowed him to address the hockey team and speak to Western governors the next day in Whitefish, Montana.

A spokeswoman for Zinke said the special counsel’s letter marked the second time Zinke has been cleared of wrongdoing in the Las Vegas speech. The Interior Department’s inspector general said in April that Zinke’s use of a chartered flight was reviewed and approved by department ethics officials. Still, the flight could have been avoided if Interior employees had worked with the hockey team to accommodate Zinke’s schedule, the report said.

”As the inspector general pointed out, the secretary always works with career ethics professionals and has followed all laws, rules and regulations related to his travel,” spokeswoman Heather Swift said.

But Daniel Stevens, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability, an ethics watchdog group <a title="Authentic Taven Bryan Jersey" href="http://www.jacksonvillejaguarsteamonline.com/taven-bryan-jersey">Authentic Taven Bryan Jersey</a> , said Zinke’s speech was clearly political. ”The truth is, Secretary Zinke charged taxpayers more than $12,000 for a charter flight so he could give a speech to the employees of one of his top campaign donors,” Stevens said.

The special counsel’s office also cleared Zinke in a March 2017 trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Zinke appeared as a guest at a GOP fundraiser and posed for photos with high-end donors. Zinke’s official title was omitted from invitations to the event, and the invitation did not specify that donors who made significant contributions could pose with Zinke, the counsel’s office said.

”Your activity did not violate the Hatch Act because you were not the impetus for those higher contributions,” the counsel’s office said in a letter to Zinke. The letter was signed by Erica Hamrick, deputy chief of the counsel’s Hatch Act unit.

The counsel’s office also cleared Zinke in seven trips he made from March 2017 to October 2017 that mixed official and political business. Interior asked for and received proper reimbursement for political elements of each of those trips, Hamrick said.

Hamrick’s letter did not address a complaint filed in March by two Democratic congressmen who said Zinke may have violated the Hatch Act at a Feb. 24 event in Pennsylvania to announce grants to clean up abandoned mining sites nationwide. State Rep. Rick Saccone, the GOP nominee for Congress in a March 13 special election, attended the event. Democrats called the location and timing of the speech suspicious. Saccone lost to Democrat Conor Lamb.

After a slow start, Giancarlo Stanton has been on a roll for the Yankees.

 

But he also said there’s another gear he can kick into, too.

Stanton hit a three-run homer, CC Sabathia pitched six effective innings <a title="Authentic Jeremy Kerley Jersey" href="http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/jeremy-kerley-jersey">Authentic Jeremy Kerley Jersey</a> , and the Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Wednesday.

Rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres left the game in the top of the fifth inning because of tightness in his right hip and afterward was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip strain.

”We’re hoping it’s a short stint. But we think we’ve got to deal with it this time because there is a small strain there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said outside the home clubhouse after the game.

”Hopefully it won’t be something that it’s too long. Probably take us up to the All-Star break.”

After struggling in his first two months of his debut season in the Bronx, including three games at the end of March, Stanton managed just 11 homers and hit .245.

He settled in and improved in June with eight homers and a .298 average.

”Yeah I can always get better. So yeah, I got to put it together but there’s some balls that I’ve hit hard that could have been in the air, been better,” said Stanton, who’s 6 for 18 (.333) with two home runs and five RBIs through the first four games of July.

”But that’s talking millimeters of (a) difference here. But in terms of in the box, I feel very close.”

Aaron Judge added his 24th homer of the season in the seventh inning. He’s now homered in three of his past four games.

Catcher Kyle Higashioka also homered for the Yankees, becoming the ninth player since 1920 whose first three hits were home runs. Colorado’s Trevor Story homered for his first four big league hits on April 4-6, 2016.

The 28-year-old, who’s spent most of his first 10 professional seasons in the minors, except for a nine-game hitless stint last season, was surprised at what he’s been able to accomplish since his promotion June 25.

”I wouldn’t have thought that my first three hits in the major leagues would be homers <a title="Josh Allen Color Rush Jersey" href="http://www.authenticsbuffalobills.com/cheap-josh-allen-jersey">Josh Allen Color Rush Jersey</a> , but the most important thing here is winning,” Higashioka said.

Sabathia (6-3) followed his impressive showing last Friday against Boston, the team with the best record in baseball, working out of a couple of jams for the Yankees, who have won six of their past eight after getting swept in three games at Tampa.

National League East-leading Atlanta loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but the 37-year-old struck out 20-year-old phenom Ronald Acuna Jr. on an 88 mph cutter.

”That’s a good lineup. They have a very good team, some good hitters,” Sabathia said. ”Even when I felt I was in control I still had to make pitches. They made me work today.”

The Braves have lost their past two games.

New York took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Greg Bird’s RBI single off Atlanta starter Julio Teheran (6-6), who lasted just five innings, allowing five hits and five runs. He walked four and struck out 10.

The Yankees got to Teheran again in the third.

With a runner on first and two outs, Aaron Hicks walked. Stanton then fell behind 0-2 before hitting a line drive to the right field bleachers for his 21st homer of the season to make it 4-0.

After retiring the first two batters in the fourth, Teheran fell behind 2-0 against Higashioka before the rookie connected to the left field stands, extending the lead to 5-0.

”You can’t make mistakes to this team,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ”The way that ball flies around in right center and over <a title="Hayden Hurst Jersey Ravens" href="http://www.ravenscheapstores.com/hayden-hurst-jersey-cheap">Hayden Hurst Jersey Ravens</a> , it’s just dangerous. That’s why they are who they are. In spurts, he threw the ball really well.”

The Braves cut the deficit to 5-1 on an RBI grounder from Danny Santana with one out in the fifth. Johan Camargo hit his ninth home run of the season with two outs in the sixth that made it 5-2. But Sabathia limited the damage by retiring Dansby Swanson on a grounder to second with a runner aboard.

Atlanta failed to take advantage in the seventh inning against reliever Chad Green when its first two batters reached on a pair of singles. Green then got three fly outs to end the threat.

PUT ME IN COACH

With New York set to play 11 games in 10 days, beginning Friday at Toronto, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he wanted to be ”greedy” with Thursday being their only day off, and held Austin Romine out of the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive day. Higashioka started for the fourth straight time behind the plate.

The Yankees have been short-handed at catcher since Romine left the game on June 29 against Boston in the seventh inning because of a tight left hamstring. Gary Sanchez has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 25 because of a strained right groin.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman, who was hit by a pitch in the third inning, left the game after the fourth because of a contusion in his right upper arm. He expects to be back in the lineup Thursday in Milwaukee.

”I tried to go down in the cage and swing and pretty much topped the ball off the tee,” Freeman said. ”I couldn’t really extend the arm going through the zone. I had no strength. It just kind of swelled up and it looks like a baseball on my tricep right now.”

WELCOME BACK

LHP Luiz Gohara, the No. 3 prospect in the Atlanta organization, arrived about 90 minutes before the first pitch after he was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett for the second time this season. RHP Evan Phillips, who threw 2 1/3 innings Tuesday night, was sent down to Trip.

Posted in Travel on August 16 at 07:11 AM

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