Donald Trump’s apparent disdain for the very principles of ethics is matched only by the contempt that former White House ethics chiefs have for this president’s behavior — behavior that violates everything that they were once tasked with protecting as the gatekeepers of appropriate standards of conduct for the executive branch.
Among the most frequent critics of the Trump administration’s ethical lapses has been Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics under Obama who managed to last nearly six months into the Trump regime.
Since he resigned from the administration in a disagreement over the laxity of its ethics compliance in July of 2017, Shaub has regularly pointed out the problems with Trump’s continued ownership of properties frequented by both foreign diplomats and Republican politicians and donors as violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
Now, another former senior ethics official — this one from the Republican Bush administration — has joined Shaub in portraying Donald Trump and his entire family as so ethically compromised as to constitute a virtual “organized crime family.”
Richard Painter, a law professor who was previously the chief ethics lawyer in the G.W. Bush White House, posted his professionally informed opinion about the criminality of the Trump family in a provocative tweet that included an excerpt of his appearance on MSNBC wherein he provided a laundry list of Trump’s impeachable offenses.
This is an organized crime family.
Go after all of them.
‘Extortion’: Bush White House lawyer wants to ‘haul in’ Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr. https://t.co/57LLwQFvfS
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) December 10, 2019
Painter was particularly outraged by the audacity of Trump’s attempts to gin up controversy around former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s employment by a Ukraine energy company, while his own family was busy registering trademarks, planning overseas real estate developments while receiving tens of millions in foreign investment, and forging ahead with Trump Organization projects in Ireland, India, Indonesia, and Uruguay while licensing the Trump name in Turkey and the Philippines.
Painter urged Democrats to get Trump’s family members to testify about their clear violations of the emoluments clause and the prohibited foreign benefits that they continue to receive while their father blathers on about the “corruption” of the Bidens for an accusation that is considerably less blatant than what his own sons, daughter, and son-in-law are doing on a daily basis.
The hypocrisy of Donald Trump as he condemns his political opponents for actions that he and his family are so transparently engaging in themselves would be mind-boggling if we hadn’t already begun to accept it as the norm from this presidency.
All the more reason that the Democrats need to succeed in impeaching Trump and removing him from office.
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Original reporting by James Crowley at Newsweek.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.