The dystopian nightmare that the American people willingly brought into their lives by electing Donald Trump while giving him a Republican controlled Senate and House of Representatives is showing its frightening authoritarian face. While holding unchecked power House Republicans have decided they are going to investigate the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, due to the director’s criticism of Trump’s plan to deal with his conflicts of interest. Welcome to The Twilight Zone.
The head of the House Oversight Committee, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), has openly threatened to bring the full force of Congress down upon Shaub for doing his job of checking into Trump. Chaffetz began his criticism:
He (Shaub) seems to be acting prematurely at best, without doing investigations or thorough looks. He’s rendering opinions publicly that really cause you to scratch your head. We need the Office of Government Ethics to act ethically. Ironically, that’s not what they’re doing.
Chaffetz’s issue with Shaub stems from comments Shaub made during a speech at the Brookings Institution. Shaub said of Trump, “The plan the president-elect has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the last four decades have met. Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective.”
While it is unusual for the director of the Office of Government Ethics to speak out in such a public way, the director is not obligated to bite their tongue. Taking a play out of Trump’s book of forcing silence by way of intimidation Chaffetz wants Shaub to testify before Congress relating to his remarks about Trump. The hearing would also entail if the Republican party is going to continue funding Shaub’s office. Chaffetz says if Shaub does not come willingly that a subpoena will be issued “if we have to.”
There can be little doubt as to the endgame of Republicans. They are seeking to make an example of Shaub by sending a message that if one dares to step out of line regarding Trump, they will become the victims of their own persecutory witchhunt. What’s worse is it is all but assured that Republicans will be disbanding, or greatly weakening, the Office of Government Ethics. As the director is appointed by the president to a five-year term, and Shaub’s is set to officially expire in 2018, his job will likely come to a screeching halt once Trump is inaugurated. This makes all of Chaffetz’s rhetoric to be lip service meant for no other purpose than the political theater of intimidation.
The American public are only getting a taste of what the nation will be like under an ironclad Republican majority, and they clearly intend to use the power granted to them by the electorate like a mace to smash any and all who stand in their way.
Watch Shaub’s speech that has Chaffetz so wound up:
What do you think?
Lou Colagiovanni is an investigative journalist living in Las Vegas who specializes in politics and crime. His work has been highlighted all over the world and he is regularly featured on television and radio.