The House Government Oversight and Government Reform Committee released its two-year agenda, and out of the 43 items listed, one is conspicuously missing: there’s no planned oversight of the Executive Branch, whatsoever. Donald Trump is being given a free pass by head inquisitor Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and the House Republicans who run the Committee.
Instead, Chaffetz plans an investigation of the Office of Government Ethics, the Federal agency who has let the entire world know of the insufficiency of Donald Trump’s plans to “separate” from his businesses and to continue violating the Constitution by doing so. Of course, as the Salt Lake Tribune explains, there is one investigation that Chaffetz and House Republicans simply cannot live without:
“There is great irony here,” said ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. “The very first letter to come out of our Committee regarding the Trump Administration’s conflicts of interest was the Chairman’s letter attacking the head of the Office of Government ethics for raising concerns about the president’s refusal to divest.”
Democrats proposed several Trump-related investigations in different formats, they said. But so far, they said Chaffetz has expressed more interest in non-Trump inquiries, including a recent letter to the FBI asking for more detail about Hillary Clinton’s email operations. Another asked about the conduct of the director of the Office of Government Ethics, who was critical of Trump’s decision not to divest his personal holdings.
Democrats requested the House panel to look into three major items; Donald Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause, a review of his campaign and advisors’ many communications and financial ties to Russia, and also the “apparent breach” of the Trump Organization’s lease with the GSA on the DC hotel. But none of those obvious areas of oversight seem to trouble Rep. Chaffetz:
The committee’s chair, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said the panel considered investigative priorities from Democrats and adopted many of them. Instead, the 43 items listed in a proposed agenda for the GOP-led panel includes a look at District of Columbia spending, cyber security policy at federal agencies and reform at the Office of Government Ethics, which had previously been critical of Trump’s failure to divest himself of potential conflicts. Despite pleas from Democrats, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee agenda for the next two years includes no planned inquiries into the Trump organization’s global entanglements and the potential for conflicts of interest.
No matter how much insincere lip-service Rep. Chaffetz gives to the press, it won’t change the fact that at best, he is appeasing a dictatorial tyrant, at worst, he is in league with the American demagogue. Sensible Republicans are already breaking with Trump over his destructive and senseless Executive Orders to harass immigrants, so any GOP legislator that sides with the Administration on their Constitutional breaches should be held responsible for enabling his extreme and utterly lawless behavior.
The House Oversight Committee’s only released their non-oversight agenda yesterday, and their first meeting will happen today. Unfortunately, they’ve made it clear from their agenda; radical Republicans in the House have abdicated their responsibility to act as a check on the power of the White House.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition