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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Contempt for ethics hobbles Trump

Norman L. Eisen and Richard W. Painter
USA Today
Originally published April 26, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Finally, there is Trump’s core ethics promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Instead, he has brought a large number of lobbyists and other persons into his administration with a vast array of personal financial conflicts of interest (exceeded only by those of the president himself). The swamp has become a cesspool — an upscale one, dominated by billionaires. A number of the high-ranking officials in Trump's administration, like their leader, insist upon maintaining   their investments in various businesses, while at the same time conducting official U.S. government policy. The Senate vetting of their conflicts has contributed to the historically slow confirmation pace of Trump nominees (another embarrassment). In government, divided loyalties do not work.

The White House's lax attitude toward ethics results in both bad ethics and bad policy, and encourages a host of lesser offenses like the recent promotion of Mar-a-Lago — a club where the president is still selling memberships for $200,000 — as the "winter White House" on official web pages of the State Department. Even a cursory check of ethics rules would have revealed that this is flatly prohibited, but nobody bothered to check. The message sent all over the world is that the United States is a land of "pay to play."

The article is here.