Former government ethics chief lays out 39 ways the Republican Party is destroying democracy
Walter Shaub is a former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics who served under President Barack Obama and briefly under Donald Trump. Shaub resigned from the position in July 2017 in frustration, saying he could do no more to curb ethical violations within the Trump administration. He cited the administration as proof that there was a need to strengthen the ethics program. On Sunday, he posted a thread on Twitter outlining the dangerous precedents being set by the Republican Party in its truly unethical handling of its mad king Trump.
This is simply the last couple of weeks. But there is so much more.
Dubious contacts. But her emails …
Shaub goes on to touch on the White House concealing damaging political information and employing white nationalists. He calls out the crisis at our border as a violation of human rights and international law. He notes Trump’s and Kushner’s complicity in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The thread is extensive. These are the rest of the items as Shaub lists them:
- t. Spending 1/4 of days in office visiting his own golf courses and 1/3 of them visiting his private businesses;
- u. Violating the Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution;
- w. Misusing the security clearance process to benefit his children and target perceived enemies;
- x. Drawing down on government efforts to combat domestic terrorism in order to appease a segment of his base;
- y. Refusing to aggressively investigate and build defenses against interference in our election by Russia, after the country helped him win an election;
- z. Engaging in a documented campaign of obstruction of a Special Counsel's investigation.
- aa. Lying about a hush money payoff and omitting his debt to his attorney for that payoff from his financial disclosure report (which is a crime if done knowingly and willfully);
- bb. Coordinating with his attorney in connection with activities that got the attorney convicted of criminal campaign finance violations;
- cc. Interfering in career personnel actions, which are required by law to be conducted free of political influence;
- dd. Refusing to fire a repeat Hatch Act offender after receiving a recommendation of termination from the president's own Senate-confirmed appointee based on dozens of violations;
- ee. Calling members of Congress names and accusing them of treason for conducting oversight;
- ff. Attacking states and private citizens frequently and in terms that demean the presidency (see Johnson impeachment);
- gg. Using the presidency to tout his private businesses and effectively encouraging a party, candidates, businesses and others to patronize his business;
- hh. Causing the federal government to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars at his businesses and costing the American taxpayers well over $100 million on boondoggle trips to visit his properties;
- ii. Hosting foreign leaders at his private businesses;
- jj. Calling on the Justice Department to investigate political rivals;
- kk. Using the presidency to endorse private businesses and the books of various authors as a reward for supporting the president;
- ll. Engaging in nepotism based on a flawed OLC opinion;
- mm. Possible misuse of appropriated funds by reallocating them in ways that may be illegal;
- nn. Repeatedly criticizing American allies, supporting authoritarian leaders around the world, and undermining NATO.
What does this all mean? We know that Trump is a liar and a wannabe dictator.
But Shaub’s final statement is chilling. “At this point, I would remind these unpatriotic Senators of the line ‘you have a republic if you can keep it,’ but a variation on this line may soon be more apt when Trump redoubles his attack on our election: You have a republic, if you can call this a republic.”
Shaub was replaced by OGE acting Director David Apol in July 2017. Then Apol made the mistake of suggesting that Trump’s lack of ethics, and more specifically his unwillingness to divest from his personal business interests, was hurting Americans’ confidence in our democracy, saying, "Nothing you could gain economically or politically could possibly justify putting our democracy at risk. These are perilous times." Apol was replaced by Emory Rounds III. Rounds’ biggest battle to date was this past July, when he warned Trump’s political appointees that they could not change their ethics agreements without his signature.