Stop Trump’s Cabinet Picks from Sneaking by the Government Ethics Office

  • Week of January 8, 2017

Trump’s cabinet is a minefield of potential conflicts of interest. Thankfully, we have the Office of Government Ethics, the government watchdog tasked with vetting cabinet picks. The problem is that Trump’s nominees and transition team have blown this office off in hopes that they will blow through the hearings next week. These emails reveal that the OGE has been given the run-around by the Trump Transition Team since November.

This is not normal. As Walter M. Shaub Jr., the OGE Ethics Director, wrote in a letter to Democratic senators on Saturday, January 7th, “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.” Shaub continued to express his “great concern” that several of Trump’s nominees have not completed an ethics review before their hearings.

The letter was sent to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who said in a statement on Saturday that the letter "makes it 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." 

All-of-us must fight this swampy move.

Here’s how:

1. Swamp your senators with calls. Those of you in CA, FL, MD, MO, OH, OR, VA, WA are in a special position, because you have a Democratic Senator who is the Ranking Member on one of the Committees with hearings this week. Reference this super informative list created by Together We Will that maps the committee membership, the ranking members, and the numbers to call. 

2. Use this script, which addresses requests to: 1) Require all of Trump’s cabinet picks to be vetted by the Office of Government Ethics; and 2) Oppose Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. 

3. Expose Trump’s tactics by asking your local news outlets to cover this story. You can use this resource or this one. Or you can use the tool from Ultraviolet.

Say something along these lines -- “Cabinet nominations have always been vetted by the Office of Government Ethics before their confirmation hearings. The Office of Government Ethics stated in a letter on January 7th that the Trump transition team has not given them the opportunity to vet many of the cabinet picks. We expect our local media to cover this important story and we hope that you will be doing so.”