Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trump Skirts His Own Ethics Rules

Source: ProPublica

It should come as no surprise that a man who does not have any ethics will ignore even his own rules. Recently, Trump hired three former lobbyists to work on the ‘specific issue areas’ they had previously lobbied for. However, since the term ‘specific issue area’ is not defined in executive order ‘Ethics Commitments By Executive Branch Appointees’, this section of the ethics rules is ultimately unenforceable. Shahira Knight lobbied for Fidelity on a range of retirement and tax policy issues before becoming Trump’s special assistant for tax and retirement policy. Michael Catanzaro was a lobbyists for American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers on fuel standards and greenhouse gas regulations just a few months ago before becoming Trump’s special assistant for domestic energy and environmental policy. George Banks, though not a registered lobbyists, lobbied on environmental issues for the American Council for Capital Formation before becoming Trump’s special assistant for international energy and environment. There is no record of any of these three receiving an ethics pledge waiver and even if they had the OGE would not have to disclose this information to the public since Trump eliminated the requirement that they publish a report disclosing the waivers and public interest justifications for them.

As discussed in previous posts (here and here), Trump has done the exact opposite of what he promised to do during his campaign in regards to appointing and hiring lobbyists to his administration. Time and again, Trump used the narrative that his opponents were all beholden to lobbyists and special interests as a stick to beat them with, but since then he has ‘pivoted’ on his campaign promise like every other politician does once they are elected to office.

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