Trump Team’s Ethics Woes Began With Transition

By on October 12, 2017
Donald Trump seems to duck ethics laws whenever possible.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) earlier this week unveiled a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that says the Trump camp began running afoul of government ethics laws during the transition period between the election and the inauguration.

From the report:

GAO’s investigation found that the transition team refused to cooperate with GAO and did not ask OGE to provide assistance to President-elect Trump on how to resolve his conflicts of interest or for input on the President’s ethics executive order. Overall, the GAO findings show a lack of attention to ethics and that precedents from previous Administrations were frequently broken – with little recourse from Congress.

The report also says that ethics rules are still permeating the Trump White House:

… the Trump Transition Team consistently ignored advice from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) – resulting in ethical crises that extended beyond the transition period into the Trump presidency.

Along with Sens. Warren and Carper, Rep. Cummings commented on the office’s findings by saying that such brazen disregard for ethics is staggering, but not necessarily unexpected from the Trump administration.

“It is outrageous that President Trump’s transition team and Vice President Pence’s office in the White House would not even speak to the nonpartisan auditors at GAO about the way taxpayer funds were spent during the transition,” said Cummings. “The refusal to cooperate with GAO fits the pattern we have seen from this White House of secrecy and a lack of accountability. ”

Of course, the report is just one facet of oversight. The House Oversight Committee, of which Rep. Cummings is the ranking member, would normally deal with this type of situation by investigating the matter and making disciplinary recommendations. Under the leadership (a term used loosely) of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), however, the committee has shown that it isn’t going to so much as lift a finger against Trump.