Ethics? Trump Packs White House With Industry Insiders, Hides Every Move
In a practice surprising few, US President Donald Trump is packing his administration with corporate lobbyists and business insiders as he rolls back Obama-era US regulations designed to limit the effects of climate change, increase the strength of financial regulation and lower the level of wartime activities.
Seen to be acting to affect regulations within the spheres of those same agencies they formerly sought to sway, Trump’s business-insider team, including many former lobbyists, is quickly moving to blur the line between public government and private enterprise, according to Common Dreams.
As reported by the New York Times, Trump has been going all-out to weaken ethics rules within the US government, as former lobbyists now working within his administration seek to modify the laws they sought only recently to change.
By scouring financial disclosures provided by ranking White House staff members, the Times documented over 300 instances of corporate collusion, including the hiring of former employees and consultants with long-term client relationships in US business.
In just one of multiple examples, it was revealed that a newly-appointed member of the US National Economic Council, now working to overturn Obama-era clean and sustainable power regulations, was formerly a lobbyist paid by the petrochemical industry, including several coal and oil companies, as reported by Common Dreams.
Within the US Labor Department, former lobbyists who have been appointed by Trump are documented as having previously worked to influence regulations within the agency. According to the Times, one Trump official now with the Labor Department worked for a financial-services company that fought against regulations for financial advisers who manage retirement accounts. A top Trump labor official, who formerly worked with a trade association representing the construction industry that lobbied the Labor Department on workplace safety and pay, has also been identified.
Although some ethics rules are still on the books within the current administration, including those that forbid government appointees from working on issues in which they were formerly employed, Trump can toss off a waiver at the stroke of a pen, making those restraints moot, and no disclosure of the move is required.
The US federal government does have an Office of Government Ethics, but its boss, Walter Shaub, knows as much under Trump as your average US citizen.
“There’s no transparency, and I have no idea how many waivers have been issued,” he said, according to The New York Times.
Along with making the resources of the United States easily available to an increasingly unregulated marketplace, the Trump administration is also continuing its practice of hiding what it is doing, as visitor logs to the White House, formerly made freely available under the Obama administration, will be now be kept secret.