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News Friday, Jun 2 2017

Trump's Corrupt White House

Jun 02, 2017

Not only is Donald Trump building a corrupt government that relies on Wall Street and oil industry execs to weaken consumer and environmental protections, he’s giving free reign to these former lobbyists to send taxpayer-funded kickbacks to their former employers — FROM INSIDE THE GOVERNMENT.

It took Trump only four months to issue more ethics waivers that President Obama granted in his eight years, and he kept the waivers secret for months.

As soon as Trump got to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, he forgot about all the “forgotten men and women” who elected him and started doing the bidding of corporate CEOs.

Trump is presiding over the most dangerously corrupt White House we’ve seen since Richard Nixon, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Washington Post: This is what Trump’s swamp looks like

On Wednesday, we learned that 17 members of his administration had been granted waivers allowing them to continue to interact with former clients. Trump isn’t the first president to issue such waivers; Barack Obama also issued 17 waivers — over the course of his two terms in office.

What’s more, the administration has not been shy about hiring individuals who were once registered as lobbyists with the federal government. Data provided to The Washington Post by the liberal PAC American Bridge details the extent to which former lobbyists have made their way into the administration. Twenty work for the executive office of the president itself, including four so-called “super-lobbyists” — ones who represented at least 10 different companies or organizations before coming to work for the government.

What’s more, of the 74 lobbyists identified by American Bridge, 49 now work for agencies they used to lobby.

New York Times: White House Waivers May Have Violated Ethics Rules

The Trump administration may have skirted federal ethics rules by retroactively granting a blanket exemption that allows Stephen K. Bannon, the senior White House strategist, to communicate with editors at Breitbart News, where he was recently an executive.

The exemption, made public late Wednesday along with more than a dozen other ethics waivers issued by the White House, allows all White House aides to communicate with news organizations, even if they involve a “former employer or former client.”

The waiver, which was undated, did not mention Mr. Bannon specifically, but appeared to benefit him by potentially dislodging him from a pending ethics complaint over his past discussions with Breitbart editors. It would also free him from restrictions on his future communication with the conservative media company.

The waiver, and the fact that it remains unclear when it was originally issued, seemed unusual to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, who questioned its validity.

“There is no such thing as a retroactive waiver,” Mr. Shaub said in an interview. “If you need a retroactive waiver, you have violated a rule.”

Vox: Trump has granted more lobbyist waivers in 4 monthsthan Obama did in 8 years

Violating his own ethics rules at a staggering pace.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump presented himself as the ultimate outsider who would rid Washington of special interest corruption and “drain the swamp.” And immediately after taking office, he signed a flashy executive order tightening restrictions on lobbyists’ work in the executive branch.

But he immediately began to staff the administration with people whose work seemed, on its face, to clearly violate the terms of the order. Rather than publicly grant waivers of ethics rules with a clearly stated rationale, the White House was simply routinely waiving ethics rules in secret so nobody knew how many waivers were issued or for what purpose.

Published: Jun 2, 2017

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