Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Ivanka Trump Earns Millions From a Rented Government Building

June 18, 2019

Ivanka Trump Earns Millions From a Rented Government Building

Presidential Advisor, sweatshop shmata merchant, and former runway model Ivanka Trump is also an hôtelièr, renting out rooms in a publicly-owned building her Dad’s company leases in Washington. Last year Ms. Trump earned $4 million from her hotel side-hustle.

More:

“Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made as much as $135m last year,” Bernard Condon, AP, via The Guardian

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Top image (Ivanka’s book-like object) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Federal Watchdog: Fire Hatch Act Violator KellyAnne Conway

June 13, 2019
Federal Watchdog: Fire Hatch Act Violator KellyAnne Conway

   GUILTY OF SERIAL HATCH ACT VIOLATIONS.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel sent a report to the White House on Thursday recommending that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway “be removed from federal service” for repeatedly using her official position for political purposes, violations of the Hatch Act:

“Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law.”

“Nyah, nyah, nyah,” responded Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves. The OSC does not have legal authority to remove a presidential appointee like Ms. Conway, but would have booted a career federal official long before this point. OSC had reprimanded Ms. Kelly over ethics concerns starting in 2017, and for multiple Hatch Act violations in 2018 and 2019. The Special Counsel of OSC is Trump-nominated investigator Henry Kerner. During the first year of the Trump Administration, Hatch Act violation compliants to the OSC rose 30 percent.

Attention lawyers: How many public ethics violations does an attorney need to commit before she’s disbarred?

More:

“Special counsel: Kellyanne Conway violated Hatch Act, should be removed,” Nicholas Sakelaris, UPI

“Kellyanne Conway Should Be Fired For Violating Ethics Law, Oversight Office Says,” Brian Naylor, NPR News

“Federal agency recommends that Kellyanne Conway be removed from service,” Anita Kumar, Politico

“Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act,” Felicia Sonmez, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

Updates:

“Trump says he won’t fire Kellyanne Conway over Hatch Act violations,” John Wagner and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post

“Nobody Will Need To Respect The Rule Of Law After The Trump Administration,” Elie Mystal, Above The Law

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Ivanka Abandons Asian Sweatshops For White House

July 24, 2018

Ivanka Abandons Asian Sweatshops For White House

Sweatshop shmata merchant and celebrity nanny-employer mom Ivanka Trump has decided to pull the plug on her failing imported fashion brand in order to concentrate on wielding her undefined influence in her Daddy’s White House. Pop’s tariffs spared her trademarked Chinese-made products, but women aren’t buying them, stores won’t carry them, and online purchases have tanked. This champion of working women is laying off her Ivanka brand staff of 19 women in New York.

Even though Ms. Trump isn’t paid for whatever-the-hell it is she does in the executive mansion, she won’t go broke. Last year she earned $3.9 million from the lobbyist- and diplomat-infested Trump International Hotel a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Rx Drugs: Timed-Release Bribery?

July 9, 2018

Rx Drugs: Timed-Release Bribery?

“An analysis by the publication Science has ‘found widespread after-the-fact payments or research support’ from pharmaceutical companies to expert officials who advised the Food and Drug Administration to approve those companies’ drugs.”

— “Pharma companies pay FDA advisers after drugs are approved,” Bob Herman, Axios

More:

“Hidden conflicts? Pharma payments to FDA advisers after drug approvals spark ethical concerns,” Charles Piller and Jia You, Science

“Majority of doctors who oversee FDA drug approval receive payments from companies they monitor, report shows,” Clark Mindock, The Independent

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Scott Pruitt Slithers Out of Washington

July 5, 2018

Scott Pruitt Slithers Out of Washington

EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday, maybe because of the stern yet civil scolding he got from a sixth-grade teacher on Monday. More likely it was due to a mean tweet by Fox host Laura Ingraham. This is the Trump Administration, so the 13 active investigations into Mr. Pruitt’s conduct don’t count.

Lest you think the environment will now be saved and EPA will emerge from the swamp, the agency is now run by coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler. Fun fact: coal is the product of 300 million-year-old swamps.

More:

“Trump EPA head steps down after wave of ethics, management scandals,” Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

“E.P.A. Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns Under a Cloud of Ethics Scandals,” Coral Davenport, New York Times

“Scott Pruitt resigns: Trump’s scandal-ridden EPA chief steps down,” Oliver Milman and Sabrina Siddiqui, The Guardian

“The scandals that led to Scott Pruitt’s resignation,” Haley Britzky, Axios

“Local Mom Who Told Scott Pruitt To Resign Reacts To His Departure,” Rachel Kurzius, DCist

“Trump Defends Pruitt Until the Very End,” Maria Mendez, Roll Call

“Pruitt Survived By Praising Trump, Who In Turn Fired Pruitt Without Speaking To Him,” Nicole LaFond, TPM Livewire

“Scott Pruitt’s parting words to Trump: you are president ‘because of God’s providence,’”Tara Isabella Burton, Vox 

“How things will (and won’t) change at EPA with Scott Pruitt gone,” Amy Harder, Axios

“Scott Pruitt’s replacement Andrew Wheeler could be even more dangerous for the EPA,” Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz

“Scott Pruitt is gone. His successor is already feeling the heat.” Dino Grandoni, Washington Post

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Pruitt Family Values

June 18, 2018

Pruitt Family Values

Recent discussion of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s brilliant Washington career has concentrated on his abuses of science, taxpayer dollars, and the power of his office, but he’s not so selfish that he neglected the Republican love of Family Values. Mr. Pruitt assigned EPA aides to try to get his wife a job with a conservative group and a Chick-fil-A franchise, and his daughter a White House Internship and a place in a good law school.

More:

“Why Scott Pruitt’s effort to get his wife a job could be his most consequential scandal,” Amber Phillips, Washington Post

“For Pruitt Aides, the Boss’s Personal Life Was Part of the Job,” Eric Lipton, Steve Eder, Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times

Background:

“Scott Pruitt’s [dirty] laundry list,” Mike Allen, Axios

Update:

“Whistleblower: EPA’s Pruitt kept secret calendar to hide meetings,” Scott Bronstein, Curt Devine and Drew Griffin, CNN

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Will Donald Trump Try To Pardon Himself?

June 6, 2018

Will Donald Trump Try to Pardon Himself?

Confused senior citizen and Donald Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had lots of contradictory things to say about his client last Sunday. He asserted that Mr. Trump couldn’t be indicted even if he shot James Comey, then talked about presidential pardon powers.

President Trump probably has the power to pardon himself, said Mr. Giuliani, but of course he would never do such an “unthinkable” thing. On the other hand, telling Donald Trump not to do something is best way of convincing him to do it. For now, Mr. Trump claims he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself, but doesn’t have to, because he has “done nothing wrong.”

So can a president pardon himself? Legal opinions differ, but  Laurence H. Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen make a good case against it, based in part on the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel 1974 opinion during Nixon’s Watergate crisis, citing “the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case,” a view taken by James Madison in the Federalist Papers, No. 10.

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Pruitt & Crapo ‘Put the Con in Condo’

April 25, 2018

Pruitt & Crapo 'Put the Con in Condo'

A new poster plastered around Capitol Hill (above) points out that Idaho’s Republican Senator Mike Crapo used the same energy lobbyist’s condo that Scott Pruitt bunked at for a fundraising event, and he got an even better deal than Pruitt’s $50 a day: It was free. Senator Crapo is on the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure — what a coincidence.

The phone number on the poster’s tear-off tabs belongs to the Federal Election Commission. Since Mr. Crapo didn’t claim use of the condo as an in-kind campaign donation, a complaint has been lodged with the FEC.

More:

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Lobbyist-Owned Pad Was GOP Fundraising Hub,” Lachlan Markay, Sam Stein, Daily Beast

“Complaint claims Idaho senator didn’t report donated time at DC condo,” Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Trump: ‘Scott Pruitt Is Doing a Great Job!’

April 9, 2018

Capitol Hill celebrity Scott Pruitt, spoofed by Friends of the Earth. The tear-off phone number is that of the EPA Public Affairs Office.

In the face of mounting criticism for extravagant personal spending of public dollars and ethical lapses, EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt seems to be fighting for his job, but President Trump thinks he’s doing a great job of rolling back environmental regulations:

But it’s actually Scott Pruitt’s PR office that’s doing all the work. In reality, the process of rolling back regulations is as lengthy and difficult as establishing them. You can’t do it by press release.

More:

“The Myth of Scott Pruitt’s EPA Rollback,” Michael Grunwald, Politico

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Photo (“$50 a Night on Capitol Hill”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Read about the posters here.

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Scott Pruitt’s DC Bargain Bedroom Guide

April 6, 2018

Scott Pruitt's DC Bargain Bedroom Guide

Let’s say you were an energy state Attorney General who sued the EPA 13 times to reduce clean air restrictions on oil, gas, and coal use. You’d expect energy companies to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to your election campaigns, even in 2014, when you ran unopposed. What you might not expect is for Donald Trump to name you EPA secretary. But he did, Scott Pruitt. Now you’ve got to stay in DC, at least when you can’t jet somewhere else.

Scott Pruitt doesn’t mind spending taxpayer dollars on first-class air travel, a custom soundproof phone booth for his office, dubious raises for his appointees, or a full-time security detail, but spending his own money when he’s in Washington? No way. Mr. Pruitt is the poorest member of the Trump Cabinet, so of course he accepted a sweetheart deal on a Capitol Hill condo owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist, $50 a night, at least half the AirBnB rate for the neighborhood.

Ethical lapses may mean Scott Pruitt is on the way out, but not before he’s destroyed his agency and America’s environmental safeguards.

More:

“Pruitt Had a $50-a-Day Condo Linked to Lobbyists. Their Client’s Project Got Approved,” Eric Lipton, New York Times

“Scott Pruitt’s D.C. Lobbyist Landlord Also Funded His Oklahoma Attorney General Campaign,” Sam Stein and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

“EPA chief Pruitt joined by family in condo tied to lobbyist ‘power couple,'” John Santucci, Matthew Mosk, and Stephanie Ebbs, ABC News

“EPA ethics official says he didn’t have all the facts on Pruitt’s lease,” Cristina Alesci, CNN

“5 lies Scott Pruitt told this week about his mounting scandals,” Umair Irfan, Vox

“Scott Pruitt’s defenses are crumbling,” Aaron Blake, Washington Post

“Scott Pruitt Stiffed Taxpayers for Around $3 Million in 24/7 Security and Expensive Flights,” Tom McKay, Gizmodo

“Top EPA staff who criticized Scott Pruitt were either demoted or reassigned,” Kyla Mandel, Think Progress

“Top Pruitt aide resigns amid growing scandal at EPA,” Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, Trish Turner, and Stephanie Ebbs, ABC News

“Inside the EPA: ‘It’s just a slow-motion train wreck,’” Emily Holden, Politico

“Chief of Staff Advised a Resistant Trump to Fire the E.P.A. Chief,” Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Lisa Friedman, New York Times

“Let’s Meet Scott Pruitt’s Potential Replacements,” Brian Kahn, Earther

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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