Several of Donald Trump’s cabinet choices have not completed a full review to avoid conflicts of interest and Senate Republicans are rushing at least nine of them through for confirmation hearings next week, according to the government’s ethics office. The director of the Office of Government Ethics penned a letter to Senate leaders expressing concern over the lack of ethics reviews just days from committee hearings.
Some of Trump’s choices are billionaires and millionaires and possible conflicts of interest need to be explored.
“During this presidential transition, not all of the nominees presently scheduled for hearings have completed the ethics review process. In fact, OGE has not received even initial draft financial disclosure reports for some of the nominees scheduled for hearings,” Walter Shaub wrote to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). In addition, Senator Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) received a copy of the letter.
“As OGE’s director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me,” Shaub continued. “This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews.”
“I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process,” he said.
In a statement, Schumer said that the letter “makes crystal clear that the transition team’s collusion with Senate Republicans to jam through these cabinet nominees before they’ve been thoroughly vetted is unprecedented.”
This process has been in place since 1978 following the Watergate scandal:
The forms in question are financial disclosures certified by the ethics office and also written ethics agreements between the nominee and the office that identify potential conflicts of interest and the ways in which the nominee will resolve those conflicts. They are required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, passed after the Watergate scandal.
“In the past, the ethics work was fully completed prior to the announcement of nominees in the overwhelming majority of cases,” Shaub wrote.
— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) January 7, 2017
Trump has a massive amount of conflicts of interest so he’s probably not worried about his cabinet picks. He’s too busy filling that swamp up.
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