The head of the Office of Government Ethics expressed alarm Saturday that the Senate would begin considering President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for cabinet positions before they’ve been fully vetted for conflicts of interests.
“As OGE’s Director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me,” wrote OGE director Walter Shaub Jr. in a letter to Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews,” he added. “More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings.”
The letter comes ahead of a week in which there will be a flurry of hearings for Trump’s cabinet picks. There will be hearings on six nominees on Wednesday alone.
By the way this is no mere formality, without this paperwork there is simply no way that these men can be considered for any position of responsibility in a presidential administration.
In fact it is the OGE's job to help these folks avoid any conflict of interest laws, something they simply cannot do without knowing what those conflicts might be.
MSNBC received access to correspondence which shows the OGE desperately trying to do their jobs, and being completely ignored by Trump and his transition team.
Here is what Elizabeth Warren had to say on the topic:
Confirmation hearings historically aren’t conducted until the @OfficeGovEthics certifies that each nominee has no unresolved conflicts.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 7, 2017
This is ridiculous. @realDonaldTrump’s noms can’t drag their feet on ethics paperwork while their Senate friends try to run out the clock.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 7, 2017
Personally I don't think that Donald Trump wants anybody in his administration that could pass an ethics investigation.Cabinet officials must put our country's interests before their own. No conf hearings should be held until we’re certain that’s the case.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 7, 2017
After all ethics never meant anything to him as a businessman, why should they matter now?
The only question remaining is do they matter to the American people?
Update: Reince "twice and" Priebus says that there is "no reason" for Trump's appointees to fill out government ethics paperwork.
Let me remind you that until very recently this guy was the head of the RNC.