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Senior Advisor, Office of Policy, Management and Budget

Steve Howke is currently serving as a Senior Advisor to Acting Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget Scott Cameron at the Department of the Interior. “The Office of Policy, Management and Budget (PMB) is situated within the Office of the Secretary and is responsible for a variety of cross-cutting management and operational issues that directly affect the Department’s ability to fulfill its mission. The Assistant Secretary-PMB leads the office and serves as the agency’s Chief Financial Officer, Chief Acquisition Officer, and Chief Performance Officer.”

Steve Howke is a Whitefish native who describes Ryan Zinke as a “close friend” and played football with Zinke in high school. Howke spent his career working for credit unions until he became Senior Adviser to Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget in fall 2017. He appears to have no previous experience working on any issues that fall within the purview of the Interior Department.

Sources: [Organizational Chart, Department of Interior, 11/06/17, “Office of Policy, Management and Budget,” Department of the Interior, accessed 06/05/17, “Bulldogs Should be Better,” The Daily Inter Lake, 09/08/77, “New Lights! Camera! Ackroyd! on Tuesday,” Whitefish Radio, 06/18/07, “YP Break-out Session Speaker,” Millennium Corporate Credit Union, 05/17, “Membership Report,” Millennium Corporate Credit Union, 10/17, and Steve Howke, “LETTER: ZINKE’S SHOWN A LIFETIME OF CHARACTER,” Daily Interlake, 03/19/14]

Political Connections

Steve Howke has given at least $485 in political contributions to Republican candidates, including $160 to Ryan Zinke in 2008. He does not appear to have contributed to any Democrats.

Steve Howke donated $160 to Ryan Zinke in 2008 when Zinke ran for the Montana Senate. [Search for Steve Howke, Montana Campaign Finance Records, accessed 01/09/17]

Steve Howke donated $325 to Bob Brown in 2004 when Brown ran for Montana Governor. [Search for Steve Howke, Montana Campaign Finance Records, accessed 01/09/17]

Current Activity

On December 28, 2017, the Interior Department issued a directive instructing assistant secretaries and bureau and office heads “to submit most grants and cooperative agreements for approval.” Based on this directive, Steven Howke, Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, assesses whether grants made by the Interior Department to outside groups align with the Trump administration’s priorities.

On December 28, 2017, Scott Cameron, the Interior Department’s principal deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, issued a directive instructing “other assistant secretaries and bureau and office heads to submit most grants and cooperative agreements for approval by one of his aides. Those include any award of at least $50,000 ‘to a non-profit organization that can legally engage in advocacy’ or ‘to an institution of higher education.’” The directive aims to “ensure those awards ‘promote the priorities’ of the Trump administration.” [Juliet Eilperin, “Interior puts science grants through political review,” Washington Post, 01/09/17]

The directive states that “assistant secretaries and bureau directors, in conjunction with Mr. Steven Howke, Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, must work with each discretionary program to set expectations and develop a plan for program execution.” [Memo from Scott J. Cameron to Assistant Secretaries et al, Interior Department accessed via Washington Post, 12/28/17]

“[T]he new approval process appears to be without precedent within the department.” [Juliet Eilperin, “Interior puts science grants through political review,” Washington Post, 01/09/17]

Financials

Department of the Interior salary: $131,767

[Steven Howke, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/15/18]

Other Information

Steve Howke went to Whitefish High School, where he played on the Whitefish High School football team with Ryan Zinke.  

Steve Howke graduated Whitefish High School in 1980. While at Whitefish High School, Howke played football with Ryan Zinke. [“Bulldogs Should be Better,” The Daily Inter Lake, 09/08/77, and “New Lights! Camera! Ackroyd! on Tuesday,” Whitefish Radio, 06/18/07]

In 2014, Steve Howke wrote a letter to the Daily Interlake supporting Ryan Zinke’s run for Congress, in which he described Zinke as his “close friend.”

In 2014, Steve Howke wrote a letter to the Daily Interlake supporting Ryan Zinke’s run for Congress. Howke said he had known Zinke since kindergarten and that Zinke had remained his “close friend through thick and thin.”

Howke described Zinke as “a class act” and said he was “‘an extremely bright and thoughtful person that I put the utmost trust in to represent the great state of Montana, and to get our country back on track.’” [Steve Howke, “LETTER: ZINKE’S SHOWN A LIFETIME OF CHARACTER,” Daily Interlake, 03/19/14]