Wannabe Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke Has Inconvenient California Address

It’s become an issue in Zilke’s nascent Republican primary that his wife owns a choice spread in Santa Barbara, where they apparently live

Ryan Zinke, a former Trump-approved Montana congressman and the former Interior secretary under Trump, wants to get back into the congressional game. He’s running for a seat in what he says is his home state of Montana.

However, new tax records, unearthed by Politico, reveal that Zinke’s wife has named the Santa Barbara, CA home she inherited from her parents as her primary residence. According to some experts, if one spouse declares a home to be their primary residence, it implies that the other spouse lives there, too.

“The details for determining residency will depend on the state or local laws, but I would think that it would be a hard sell to any tax authority that the candidate and his wife do not have the same primary residence (assuming they are not separated),” Andrew Hayashi, director of the Virginia Center for Tax Law at the University of Virginia Law School, told Politico.

Zinke lists a house in Whitefish, Montana as his address on his Federal Election Commission candidacy papers. That home is also listed as the mailing address for his consulting firm, Continental Divide International LLC, and his nonprofit, Great Norther Veterans Peace Park, according to county tax records. Still, Zinke has made no homestead declaration for a primary residence in Montana.

He’s also been casual about when he uses his California address and when he uses his Montana one. Zinke and his wife, Lola, have used her Santa Barbara home as a mailing address “for fundraising invitations, Lola’s own campaign contributions and a business contract his consulting firm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

A tax filing submitted with Santa Barbara County “shows a homeowner exemption for the California home for the fiscal year that started last July.” The exemption applies to homes that are the owner’s “principal place of residence.”

Zinke’s flack paints the picture as confusion over Zinke’s wife having ownership over her late parents’ home.

The residency issue is catnip for his detractors and his opponents in the Republican primary.

“This is just another example of Ryan not being fully honest and transparent with the people of Montana about where exactly he lives,” said Montana state senator Albert Olszewski, who is Zinke’s most prominent rival in the primary, to be held on June 7.

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