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Rex Tillerson, CEO and chairman Exxon Mobil, has been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to lead the State Department. (Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

GOP Tries to 'Jam' Through Nominees Not Yet Vetted, Ethics Office Warns

Office of Government Ethics has not received even initial draft financial disclosure reports for some of the nominees scheduled for hearings

Lauren McCauley

Days before the confirmation process is set to begin, with schedule purposely packed with conflicts, it appears that many of President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet nominees have not been properly vetted despite numerous potential conflicts of interest.

The head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) sent a letter to Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Chuck Schumer (NY) on Saturday expressing "great concern" over the fact that the hearings are set to begin on Tuesday and his office had not yet received financial disclosure reports for some of the scheduled nominees.

"As OGE's director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me," wrote Walter Shaub, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013. wrote in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). 

The current confirmation schedule, which has six nominees scheduled for the same days as well as a Trump press conference and a Senate 'vote-o-rama,' he wrote, "has created undue pressure on OGE's staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews."

"More significantly," Schuab continued, "it has left some of the nominees with with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings. I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process."

As of Saturday, he noted, not all of the nominees scheduled have completed the review. What's more, OGE "has not received even initial draft financial disclosure reports for some of the nominee scheduled for hearings," which seemed to be an unprecedented failure on the part of the nominees as well as the Trump transition team. 

The letter, which was penned in response to an update request from Warren and Schumer, casts doubt on whether the nominees will received a proper vetting, which is particularly concerning because of the many potential conflicts they hold.

Trump's cabinet, slated to be by far the wealthiest in modern history, include numerous billionaires, corporate CEOs, and business people with deep financial ties to the industries they are appointed to govern. As Warren and Schumer wrote to Shaub, "Many of the President-elect's Cabinet nominees are extremely wealth individuals with complex financial situations."

Trump, also said to have the most blatant conflicts of interest for an incoming President, has similarly failed to address or rectify his business entanglements so far.

Warren responded to the letter Saturday saying that her Republican colleagues were trying to "run out the clock" while the nominees "dragged their feet." Schumer last week warned the GOP that any effort to "jam through" Trump's problematic picks would be met with fierce resistance.


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'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

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