Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Robert Reich

I noted last month that Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, sent a letter to the Trump administration requesting the names of all former industry lobbyists who have been given waivers from federal ethics rules to work for Trump.

The White House has just refused -- telling Shaub he doesn’t have legal authority to get that information, and charging he’s motivated by politics. With Orwellian logic, the White House says “the very fact that this internal discussion was leaked implies that the data being sought is not being collected to satisfy our mutual high standard of ethics.”

Dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers are now working in the Trump administration -- many on the exact topics they had previously handled on behalf of private-sector clients — including oil and gas companies and Wall Street banks — as recently as January.

But keeping the waivers confidential makes it impossible to know who they are and whether they've been given an explicit pass to ignore ethics rules.

“It is an extraordinary thing,” Shaub said of the White House request. “I have never seen anything like it.”

Marilyn L. Glynn, who served as acting director of the Office of Government Ethics during the George W. Bush administration, called the move by the Trump White House “unprecedented and extremely troubling. It challenges the very authority of the director of the agency and his ability to carry out the functions of the office.”

Face it: Trump has turned the federal government over to the shills of big business and Wall Street. While Trump and his family profit off Trump's presidency, big business and Wall Street are also profiting, at the public’s expense.

What do you think?


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