Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

What if our system can’t handle Trump’s out-of-control self-dealing?

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Sarah Posner writes in the Washington Post:

Two new investigative reports out today vividly describe in fresh detail the scope and scale of President Trump’s business conflicts of interests and the damage they are inflicting on our political system.

The reports, taken together, raise the question: Can our system handle the unprecedented conflicts and self-dealing that this president is engaged in?

The two investigative reports, one from USA Today and the other from the government watchdog group Public Citizen, together show how Trump’s refusal to divest himself from his global business holdings has created a new ecosystem, outside the view of the public and the oversight capabilities of other branches of government. In the new Trump ecosystem, the world’s wealthiest people and corporations can buy direct access to the president, simultaneously lining his pockets while achieving their own personal or policy goals.

For the first time in the nation’s history, USA Today concludes, “wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally.” This Trumpian ecosystem is completely unprecedented; as former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub told the newspaper, “We never thought we’d see anyone push the outer limits in this way.”

Our system is not prepared to hold Trump or these outside influence peddlers accountable because no one — not the framers of our Constitution or lawmakers of any era in U.S. history — ever anticipated a president who would retain a lucrative stake in such a far-reaching business empire once in office, despite the blatant and extensive conflicts of interest it has set in motion. Worse, no one envisioned that a president would so brazenly snub his nose at ethical standards intended to uphold the simple credos that access to the president of the United States is not for sale and the presidency is not a profit-making enterprise.

It’s precisely because such contempt for ethics was unimaginable that no constraints against Trump-like behavior were ever put in place. And now we are beginning to see the effects of his running roughshod over the standards that distinguish a functioning democracy from a kleptocracy.

The USA Today report shows how Trump, despite his claims that he would “drain the swamp” of lobbyists, has simply given wealthy people direct access to him. All they have to do is pay the hefty membership fees at one of his private golf clubs. Initiation fees can exceed $100,000, and members pay annual dues on top of that. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

6 September 2017 at 12:51 pm

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