Ethics review shmethics review

Sinister news – the federal agency that reviews the backgrounds of Cabinet nominees says it’s overwhelmed by the workload. That’s not surprising: usually the Cabinet nominees are relatively “normal” – in the sense of not being loaded down with conflicts of interest or bad history or both.

In a letter to Democratic senators dated Saturday, the head of the Office of Government Ethics also warned that Republicans are trying to take the unprecedented step of holding hearings for Cabinet picks before they have completed requisite paperwork to ensure there are no ethical, financial or criminal concerns.

Walter M. Shaub Jr., the ethics director, said it is “of great concern to me” that several of Trump’s nominees have not completed an ethics review before hearings are scheduled to begin next week.

Beginning as he means to go on, no doubt – just steamroll all concerns about flagrant conflicts of interest and barge ahead regardless.

Plans for at least seven Trump nominees to sit for hearings on Capitol Hill in the coming days have “created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews,” Shaub wrote. “More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings.”

Shaub added: “I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process.”

Drain the swamp much?

The letter by Shaub was sent Saturday in response to queries by Senate Democrats. His concerns could undermine Republican hopes of swiftly holding hearings Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — around the same time that Trump is also expected to outline ways he will separate himself from his vast business holdings while serving as president.

The letter adds fuel to Democratic concerns that the incoming administration as well as congressional Republicans are attempting to rush the confirmation of Trump’s top picks.

The ethics office’s concern “makes crystal-clear that the transition team’s collusion with Senate Republicans to jam through these Cabinet nominees before they’ve been thoroughly vetted is unprecedented,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in response to the letter.

Yes but Trump called Schumer a “clown” on Twitter a couple of days ago, so we can just ignore anything he says.

Prepare to see the waters of the swamp close over our heads.

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