Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Trump administration officials just seem incapable of staying out of trouble. On Tuesday evening, CNN reported that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is under investigation by the department's Office of the Inspector General for improperly giving his family members roles in government work. Carson himself "called earlier this month for the inspector general to review' the role his family has played at the department after The Washington Post reported that HUD officials expressed ethics concerns about their role," CNN notes. Carson's son and daughter-in-law had helped organize a "listening tour" for the department in 2017.
And in the Trump administration, Carson is far from alone in flouting ethical norms and standards. In fact, he's the sixth Cabinet-level official to face an inspector general investigation.
Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned amid an investigation into his use of private jets, at roughly $1 million in taxpayer expense.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has also enjoyed questionable private jet travel, has been probed for possible illegal campaign activity.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was investigated, and reimbursed taxpayers, after he used a military plane to get himself and his wife a good seat for the solar eclipse. He has also faced a separate investigation into whether he lied about a department study supporting the GOP tax scam.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has faced an inspector general inquiry into his travel expenses, including $90,000 in first class plane tickets, which he claims he needed because otherwise the liberals in economy would beat him up.
And Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is the subject of a probe alleging that he improperly accepted tennis tickets and billed the government for his wife's luxury travel, and that his chief of staff falsified documents to cover it up.
Two other cabinet members, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, have also been the subject of ethics complaints which did not lead to investigations.
And all of this is not to mention other Trump officials who have left office under shady circumstances, including former CDC chief Brenda Fitzgerald, who was caught profiting off of tobacco securities while heading up federal anti-smoking efforts.
Trump of course is no stranger to ethics violations, and he has apparently fostered a culture in which people are looting the taxpayer money and abusing government power as naturally as breathing.
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