Trump’s staff and cabinet are among the most corrupt people in the nation. Remember EPA head Scott Pruitt and his abominable misuse … downright theft, actually … of taxpayer money? Then there was Tom Price, Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) who wasted more than a quarter-million on charter flights to jet all over the country.Price & Pruitt are gone, but the corruption remains. Take, for example, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Mulvaney has a friend, Michael O’Shaughnessy, back in his home district in South Carolina. O’Shaughnessy is the founder and president of Element Electronics, a television assembly plant in Winnsboro, South Carolina. O’Shaughnessy was also a financial contributor to Mulvaney’s 2016 Congressional campaign.
Element Electronics stands to be seriously hurt by Trump’s tariffs, and O’Shaughnessy has said the plant will close in October if they cannot be exempted from the tariffs. Mulvaney is doing everything in his power to see that an exemption is granted to Element. Now, it isn’t that I am unsympathetic to the situation Element finds itself in, but many, many other companies are in the same boat, and is Mulvaney trying to help them? No, because they are not owned by his friend. Trump’s tariffs are destructive and despite his claims, are going to cost jobs and hurt the U.S. economy. But we cannot single out only certain companies to help because they are friends of somebody on Trump’s staff or cabinet.And then there’s Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior who, at his confirmation hearing in January 2017, said, “I am absolutely against transfer or sale of public land.” And again, in March 2017 … “You can hear it from my lips. We will not sell or transfer public land.” Doesn’t that one remind you of that infamous Bush Sr. line: “Read my lips — No new taxes!”? And yet, last week watchdog environmental groups got wind that Zinke was negotiating to sell off some 1,610 acres of public lands that had been part of the Grand Staircase national monument until Trump radically shrunk the size of the monument last December. The planned sale included 880,000 acres carved out by Trump from Grand Staircase and the 200,000 acres remaining in Bears Ears from its original 1.35 million acres.
The planned sale was cancelled last Friday, after questioning by the environmental groups, and Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt took the blame, saying it was an “oversight” …
“The failure to capture this inconsistency stops with me.”
Most, myself included, are not buying it, for Zinke surely cannot be so out of touch with the department he is tasked with overseeing that he was unaware of this. These are public lands, folks … OUR land! It does not belong to Mr. Zinke nor to Mr. Trump and it certainly is not their right to sell it. I’m still not convinced they had the right to shrink it.
But Zinke’s corruption doesn’t end here. Earlier this year, he and his wife entered into a business agreement with Halliburton, one of the world’s biggest oil field services firms and a company that, needless to say, does quite a bit of business with the U.S. government, including the Interior Department that Zinke oversees. You can find the details here.And then there’s Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce who not only failed to properly divest himself of certain investments upon taking his position but has continued to meet in an official capacity with the chief executives of the companies in which he owns millions of dollars’ worth of stock. There is no evidence that he discussed deals that could be considered conflict of interest, but there is the appearance of wrongdoing. If I meet with a hitman, and the FBI gets wind of it, given my supreme dislike and public criticisms of Trump, guess what the FBI will assume, and guess where I’ll be going? Appearances are important in the eyes of the public.
Ross has denied wrongdoing but admitted only to “inadvertent errors”. Last month, Ross came under fire by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) for failure to divest certain holdings that he had agreed to do upon taking office. One of those holdings was Invesco, where Ross once worked and still owns stock valued at up to $50 million. Ross recently met with a board member of the Qatar Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund that had given Invesco money to manage.
Ross has met with auto executives who are customers of the company he founded and still has a financial interest in. He has met with the chief executive of a rail car manufacturer whose board he once sat on and whose shares he still owns. Sorry, Wilbur, but there is too much smoke here for there not to be a fire somewhere.
Helaine Olen, an opinion writer for The Washington Post, recently began her column …
“At least once a week, a member of the Trump administration demonstrates in an entertaining way that public service can be a great way to make a buck.”
She hit that nail spot on the head, didn’t she? But then, when the ‘man’ who is over all these people is the most corrupt leader in the western world … what else can you expect?Isn’t it interesting that Trump’s administration contains some of the wealthiest people ever to hold government positions, and yet they are the most corrupt, bar none? It would seem to me that this is as good an indicator as any that wealth is addictive, always seeking more, willing to go to great lengths to obtain more, not caring a whit who they step on in the process. It rather reminds me of a drug addict who will do anything and everything, including murder, to get his next fix. What’s next? Stay tuned.