Wed. Jan 20th, 2021

White House Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway violated ethics rules twice last year, according to a government ethics office, three times marked for breaking the same rule.

It was one of several data-points from this week, showing once again that President Donald Trump is not trapped in the swamp, as he promised to do, because it floods or gives it a mild change in its image having had. Honestly new and sometimes novel violations of moral norms and rules are coming too fast to track down stories; I wrote Friday and then Monday In the morning Trump and his administration are abusing their public offices and I have been writing columns since these new examples have surfaced.

Welcome to Donald Trump’s corruption carnival.

First there is Conway. US Office of Special Counsel (not to be confused with Special Counsel Robert Muller’s Office) Issued a report “Disciplinary action” called for “impregnable mix” against Conway on Tuesday.[ing] Official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special [Senate] The election “which took place in December. Under the Hatch Act, federal employees are barred from their official positions from engaging in political activities, but Conway said his way to attack the Democratic senatorial candidate, according to special counsel Henry Kerner (And eventual winner) Doug Jones in a television interview twice in the election.

She appeared on “Fox and Friends” on November 5 and CNN’s “New Day” on December 5 and spoke about the Alabama Senate race (without asking about it in a prior appearance), which went beyond her remint , Per Kerner. (This is Conway’s third apparent moral violation in the White House since last spring Broke Ivanka Trump’s clothing line on television.)

And here’s an important fact: After the appearance of Fox News, it received two separate warnings about not violating the Hatch Act. In the first case, the White House attorney’s office “reached out to her because of the Hatch Act concerns raised by her interview and again provided her with the Hatch Act guidance on the day of her appearance on” Fox and Friends “; The office reminded Conway and other White House officials of a hatch act the day before her CNN appearance. (These were the fifth and sixth examples where she received individual or collective guidance about the law since taking over administration will do.)

Cartoons on President Donald Trump

More: Conway disregarded the Office of Special Services after he asked her to respond to allegations of violations of the Hatch Act, though the White House attorney’s office defended her presence for Kerner. (The lawyer’s office also promised that she would answer, which she did not give.)

So what? The fact that she was directly warned about violating the Hatch Act did so and that it reflected the level of belief that she might violate the law. What’s more: Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidli released Statement The White House did not say on Tuesday that Conway had done anything wrong. Not surprising: the administration shattered the independent investigator’s decision.

In contrast, Julian Castro, when Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, Violated the act in July 2016, The administration granted ownership for the violation, admitted that it was a mistake and promised to ensure that it would not happen again. As Richard Painter, President George W. Bush was ethics chief Put on twitter About Conway: “In any other White House, an even greater morality violation would result in dismissal. This is his third, and all three within the same year. He needs to go.”

And Conway is not alone. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump lists five other Trump appointees who have run-in with the Hatch Act. “If this all sounds confusing: sufficiently reasonable,” He writes. “This is why the Office of Special Counsel provides training for officers of the administration as to where the legal lines are.”

But of course all training in the world does not matter if the administration is simply going to ignore the law when it decides whether anyone will be disciplined for it. “The Hatch Act is either enforceable law or it is not” Joy-Ann Reid of MSNBC tweeted. “Trump is again testing that proposition that the law itself does not matter as long as he is president.”

And yet it was no closer to being the only curious story of moral courage from the Trump administration. The Associated Press reported that a pair of trumpets at the Environmental Protection Agency are gearing up Paid work for outside customers. Which customers will supplement the income of these ostensible public servants? AP’s Michael Biesecker reports that those names were blackmailed to the agency before the agency made copies available, citing privacy waivers commonly used to protect personnel records and medical files . One of the officers, John Konkus, deputy associate administrator for public affairs, spent fleeting moments in the spotlight when he was put in an unusual position – his position as a political appointee with a slightly clearer background in environmental science – The vetting agency distributes grants. Juliet Ilperin of the Washington Post reported that the Konsus told EPA employees that she “Double c-word,” Climate change.

Konkus is starting with two mystery customers, with hopes of taking on the others. I know Trump’s EPA isn’t really very into making stuff, but isn’t the deputy associate administrator a full-time job anymore? He has promised that he will avoid a confrontation with these mysterious customers, likely because Patrick Davis, a senior consultant in the EPA’s Denver regional office, will serve as the sales director for the Telephone Town Hall meeting. Call me, but I do not think anyone in this administration has the credibility to take his word on such things.

“This is crazy,” former Obama ethics base Norman Eisen tweeted. “In the Obama White House, I also excluded people from nonprofit nonprofit positions because of the risks of conflict. It is for profit work that may conflict with official duties.” Eisen tied everyone together on Twitter, Writing that “2 big morality stories of the day are related. The EPA opened an eye to employing conflict risk, and now we’re waiting with Trump [sic] This is what w / Kalian does. If he doesn’t fire her, his message will be that the law doesn’t matter. ”

(And a Important points from Washington Post’s Paul Waldman: “At this point, my conservative friends are saying, ‘What about Huma Abedin?’ To which I will answer, when you were angry, you were right it was reported In 2013 that in his last few months at the State Department, a long-time Hillary Clinton aide received approval to work together for the Clinton Foundation and a consulting firm run by the former Clinton aide. “

But wait – there is one The third EPA Allies Work Out: Democratic Censors. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Tom Carper of Delaware EPA admin Scott Pruitt wrote on Tuesday To ask him about Puscle “Nino” Perrotta, who lists himself as an ‘Acting Special Agent in Charge’ at the EPA and has traveled with Pruitt on several occasions as part of his protective detail , ” According to the letter, And is also a principal and founder of Sequoia Security Group; His business partner at Sequoia reportedly obtained a counterservice services contract from the EPA to sweep Pruitt’s office for listening devices. How convenient.

Everything flows over the course. If Trump’s allies feel empowered to make extra bucks while in office, this is a piece with a culture where the top dog is in a very high-profile way that would have closed the public trust’s bucks is.

ProPublica gave the latest example over the weekend, Reporting that “The Trump Organization has ordered the construction of new tee markers for golf courses with the seal of the President of the United States. Under federal law, the use of the seal is permitted only for official government business. Abuse can be a crime. Is. ”Indeed, under previous administrations on both sides, outside businesses have been warned against using the seal.

This time apparently less official attention was paid to completing the same end: propolis Reported on tuesday Presidential seal markers have been removed from Trump Golf Course. “The plaque was presented by a small group of club members, who are an incredible fan of the president in his honor. [sic] Weekend, ”the Trump Organization said in a statement from Propolis. “They were temporary and have since been removed.” Well I think it’s fine if they are beyond belief President’s fan.

Another Trump ethics issue that maintains itself and is worth watching: The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Palazolo and Michael Rothfeld on Monday provided new details in Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen’s case Hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels To keep her from talking about her affair with Trump during campaigning days. “Mr. Cohen said he missed two deadlines earlier that month to pay Ms. Clifford $ 130,000 because he could not reach Mr. Trump in the busy final days of the presidential campaign,” he writes. ” As a person familiar with the case “Aaron Blake of the Post.” notes, While it was widely believed that Cohen was working on Trump’s behalf, this is the concrete link to establishing such foreknowledge. The $ 130,000 was an illegal and illegally coordinated campaign contribution if it was proved that it would strengthen the case.

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