WASHINGTON—Attempting to make amends for gross abuses of power during his time as Interior Department Secretary, an unusually contrite Ryan Zinke apologized Monday for misusing government funds by sending the members of the ethics committee a $160,000 vase. “I know this doesn’t change anything about how I exploited my cabinet position, but I hope you will accept this beautiful example of Qing dynasty porcelain as a small token of my regret,” said Zinke, acknowledging that while no gift could make up for the time he spent $139,000 of taxpayer money to renovate his office doors, he hoped the committee would consider the vase as a sincere gesture of apology. “I was wrong to take advantage of my position, and I hope the lustrous glazing and firing evident in this piece will move you to forgive me for my all-too-human failings. Please don’t remember me as the man who used government funds on security detail for my family while we were on vacation in Turkey, or as the man who violated the Hatch Act and acted as a pawn for the oil and gas industry. Rather, when your eyes happen to fall on this unique example of kaolin clay-work, I hope you will remember me as the man who bought each of you the 2019 Mercedes Benz S560 sedans you’ll find in the parking lot when you leave today.” Zinke further plans to apologize in person to each committee member by visiting them at their homes using a government helicopter.
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