Donald Trump has chosen his cabinet picks from the deepest depths of the swamp. Now, Republicans are planning to let them slither into office unchallenged by scheduling their confirmation hearings before a standard ethics review has been completed.
The Wall Street Journal reports that confirmation hearings are scheduled this week for “Messrs. Tillerson and Ross, as well as Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s choice for Education secretary; attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions; Ben Carson, who would be Housing secretary; Mike Pompeo, who would lead the Central Intelligence Agency; Elaine Chao, Mr. Trump’s choice for Transportation secretary, and Ret. Gen. John Kelly, who would head Homeland Security.”
However, the WSJ also reported that at least four of the nominees with hearings scheduled for the coming days have not disclosed the necessary paperwork. Like Trump, his cabinet picks are being particularly obstinate when it comes to disclosing their taxes. These are a vital part of the ethics review because these documents reveal financial conflicts of interest.
And the GOP is doing all they can to help rush the process along and to hell with an ethics review. Conservatives sure are a fickle bunch. In 2009, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) penned a letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in which made it quite clear that “financial disclosures must be complete” before any confirmation hearing could be scheduled.
McConnell said the “Senate has a Constitutional duty to provide its Advice and Consent on Presidential nominations.” At the time, he felt that nominations should receive a review that was “consistent with the long-standing and best practices of committees, regardless of which political party is in the majority.”
He then listed off the standards that had to be met “prior to considering any time agreements on the floor on any nominee,” which included the following:
Gee, how interesting. That is the exact opposite of what Republicans are trying to do today.
On Saturday, the director of the Office of Government Ethics called out the GOP for trying to push ahead with confirmation hearings before the completion of ethics reviews. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the scathing letter, written by the OGE, “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.” The level of hypocrisy here is unprecedented as well.
Mitch McConnell to Reid in 2009: nominee “financial disclosures must be complete… prior 2hearing being scheduled.” pic.twitter.com/wxCfXTPS6g
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) January 8, 2017
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images