A lot can be said for Trump’s cabinet picks. They are the richest of the rich, the lowest of the low, and the most corrupt of the corrupt. Republicans are fully aware of this but they plan to push them through without even completing the vetting process and a federal watchdog just called them out on their shady scheme.
According to the Washington Post, the head of the Office of Government Ethics penned a letter to Democratic Senators on Saturday, which warns that Republicans are planning to hold confirmation hearings on Trump’s nominees before the necessary paperwork has even been done “to ensure there are no ethical, financial or criminal concerns.”
Walter M. Shaub Jr., the ethics director, said the idea that the GOP intends to hold confirmation hearings without an ethics review is “of great concern to me.”
Plans for at least seven Trump nominees to sit for hearings on Capitol Hill in the coming days have “created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews,” Shaub wrote. “More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings.”
Shaub added: “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.”
The letter gives even more firepower to concerned Democrats who say the GOP is trying to rush Trump’s cabinet picks through. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) says 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.”
“The Senate and the American people deserve to know that these Cabinet nominees have a plan to avoid any conflicts of interest, that they’re working on behalf of the American people and not their own bottom line, and that they plan to fully comply with the law. Senate Republicans should heed the advice of this independent office and stop trying to jam through unvetted nominees.”
Among Trump’s top picks scheduled for confirmation hearings this week are Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s racist choice to serve as attorney general, and Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil chief executive that Trump has nominated as secretary of state.
It is unclear what effect, if any, the concerns of the ethics office will have on the confirmation of Trump’s cabinet picks but it could make it more difficult for Republicans to simply wave them through without objection. Hearings are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Featured image via Zach Gibson/Getty Images