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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

An ongoing investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been referred to the Justice Department by the agency's Office of Inspector General, the Washington Post reports, citing two individuals familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: This referral could result in the DOJ opening up a criminal investigation into Zinke's actions. Stephen Ryan, counsel to Secretary Zinke, told Axios that Zinke "has not been contacted or notified of any DOJ investigation or Inspector General referral. It is disappointing that unsubstantiated and anonymous sources have described an IG office referral to members of the media, as this violates DOJ and IG policy direction. The Secretary has done nothing wrong."

The details: The Inspector General's office is currently conducting at least three investigations linked to Zinke, including a real estate deal that could have violated conflict of interest laws and his decision to block tribes from opening a casino in Connecticut. The Post said both its sources "did not specify which inquiry had been referred to the Justice Department."

What to watch: Axios' Amy Harder notes that, as these controversies pile up, Zinke will be appropriately compared to Scott Pruitt, who resigned as EPA administrator earlier this year under a cloud of ethical scandals.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the quote by Zinke's counsel.

Go deeper

6th victim dies following South Carolina shooting

Jack Logan, founder of Put Down the Guns Young People, places stuffed animals and flowers outside of Riverview Family Medicine and Urgent Care on Friday after the fatal shooting in Rock Hill, South Carolina, a day earlier. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The only survivor of this week's mass shooting in South Carolina by former NFL player Phillip Adams has died of his injuries, authorities said Saturday.

Details: Robert Shook, 38, an air conditioning technician from Cherryville, North Carolina, died of gunshot wounds from Wednesday's shooting at a doctor's home in Rock Hill, S.C., which claimed the lives of five other victims.

2 hours ago - World

In photos: Egypt unveils 3,000-year-old "lost golden city"

A view on Saturday of the city, dubbed "The Rise of Aten," dating to the reign of Amenhotep III, uncovered near Luxor. Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images

A top Egyptian archaeologist on Saturday outlined details of a newly rediscovered "lost golden city" near Luxor that dates back more than 3,000 years.

Why it matters: Zahi Hawass told NBC News the large ancient city, unveiled Thursday, tells archaeologists for the first time "about the life of the people during the Golden Age." Johns Hopkins University Egyptology professor Betsy Brian said in a statement it's "the second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamen."

1 dead as severe storms pummel the South

A tree that fell on a home carport damaged a vehicle during a storm in Central, Louisiana. No injuries were reported, according to Central Fire Department. Photo: Central Fire Department/Twitter

Strong storms lashed the South early Saturday, spawning at least one tornado and unleashing powerful winds and hail. And forecasters warned more severe weather was expected to hit parts of the region in the coming hours.

Details: Thousands of customers lost power in Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, according to tracking site poweroutage.us. An F3 tornado that hit St Landry Parish, Louisiana, killed one person and wounded seven others.