In what will come as a surprise to absolutely no one familiar with what is rapidly becoming the most openly corrupt administration in American history, the Office of Government Ethics is having supreme difficulty in getting access to the transition team.
New emails obtained by NBC News reveal that since November, the Trump team has been ignoring the OGE and making appointments without first consulting with the ethics agency over possible conflicts of interest. “We seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election” says OGE Director Walter Shaub.
Once the Trump Administration actually takes over the duties of government, “they run the risk of having inadvertently violated the criminal conflicts of interest restriction at 18 USC 208. If we don’t get involved early to prevent problems, we won’t be able to help them after the fact.”
The careless attitude with which Trump has approached the host of conflicts of interest and possible ethical concerns indicates that, as we all have feared, Trump has no intention of even pretending to run an honest administration and instead will be overseeing a deregulatory free-for-all and the auctioning off of government services to the highest bidder – all the while directing more and more profit to his business corporation, which he has made no progress in divesting himself from despite promises to the contrary.
“Conspicuously absent is any evidence of the preparations allegedly being undertaken by President-Elect Trump to resolve potential conflicts of interest through some manner of divestment. If the President-Elect’s lawyers and compliance officers are not coordinating with OGE, who, if anyone, within the government are they coordinating on these matters?” said federal employment lawyer Bradely Moss.
What is the real concern for the American people is not that the Trump administration will violate ethics laws – which it likely will have done by the end of inauguration day – but the fact that nobody in power is inclined to enforce those laws and see justice meted out. The Republicans in Congress will be too busy ridding the American people of their health insurance and their access to reproductive healthcare and getting excited about building a wall; Trump and his cronies will be too busy frolicking in the wreckage of the American middle class and lining their own pockets while oversight agencies will soon find their staff replaced with Trumpcoats all too eager to look the other way.
Welcome to banana republic, USA.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.