Not a fan of Reich, but the letter he shares is worthwhile to review, as a preamble to the coming shitstorm.
On Sunday, Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming White House chief-of-staff, warned Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, to “be careful” about criticizing Trump’s handling of his business conflicts. (Shaub last week criticized Trump’s plan to shift ownership of his businesses to his sons as inadequate.)
Today, Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, and Norm Eisen, the chief ethics lawyers under Barack Obama, wrote to Priebus.
I want to quote their letter at length, because it reveals the scale of the ethical breakdown under the incoming president:
“Your comments were highly inappropriate and an obvious effort to intimidate Director Shaub, who is properly doing his job.
Your comments, furthermore, are part of what appears to a pattern of attacks on ethics rules for Executive Branch officials and members of Congress by trying to undermine the oversight and enforcement of these rules. First, House majority leaders initiated a sneak attack to try to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, the one institution in Congress that has done an effective job of overseeing and enforcing the congressional ethics rules. An immediate public outcry played a central role in preventing this attack from succeeding. Then another House majority leader, Representative Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made not so subtle threats to the Office of Government Ethics. In doing so, he was sending a message to Director Shaub that he should back off from addressing President-elect Trump’s ethics problems.
The comments you made on Sunday represent a classic example of ‘shoot the messenger’ as a way to shift attention away from the failure of President-elect Trump to take necessary steps to solve his serious ethics problems. OGE Director Shaub has correctly described as ‘wholly inadequate’ President-elect Trump’s recently announced plan to deal with the serious conflicts of interest and Emoluments Clause problems he faces the moment he becomes president. …
No president in our history has ever attempted to own and financially benefit from a worldwide business empire at the same time he served as president. President-elect Trump’s plan to do this is a disservice to the American people and is bound to end in very serious problems for President Trump and for the country.”
I’d be astounded if this letter had any effect whatsoever on Trump or the people around him. But it should put America on notice of the ethical sinkhole Trump is creating for himself and America.
What do you think?