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Ethics Watchdog Applauds Boycott of Trump’s Corporate Cabinet

Statements of Four Public Citizen Experts

WASHINGTON - Today, Democratic lawmakers on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee boycotted the committee markup where votes to advance the nominations of U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Steven Mnuchin for secretary of Health and Human Services and Treasury secretary respectively, were scheduled to take place. Outside the hearing room, committee Democrats cited concerns that President Donald Trump’s nominees failed to provide truthful answers to questions posed to them at their hearings.

“Good for Senate Democrats for taking a stand and speaking honestly about the dishonesty of the Trump nominees. The lies and omissions from nominees Mnuchin and Price are neither accidents nor anomalies. They fit a pattern and practice of the not-even-two-week-old Trump administration: casual disregard for the truth and ethical standards. These ethical norms aren’t prudish formalities – they are intended to prevent exactly the kind of conflicts of interest and handing over of policymaking to regulated industry that is already defining the Trump administration.”
– Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

“We applaud the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee for taking a stand against Rep. Price’s nomination. His ethically questionable stock investments in pharmaceutical companies should be fully explored before handing him the keys to Medicare and other critical health programs. All nominees must be held to high standards of ethical behavior and truthfulness if they’re to be advanced toward positions of such immense responsibility, and it must be clear that they have the needs of American consumers at heart, not the fattening of their own pocketbooks.”
– Steven Knievel, access to medicines advocate, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program

“No senator – Democrat or Republican – should vote on a nominee when basic questions of integrity remain unresolved. We are pleased to see senators taking seriously the astounding conflicts of interest presented by Donald Trump’s corporate Cabinet.”
– Lisa Gilbert, director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“At the heart of the Mnuchin confirmation are serious questions as to his honesty, specifically whether OneWest bank engaged in the practice known as ‘robo-signing’ and the conflicts between his assertions and court documents and other records. A Public Citizen analysis of Mnuchin’s written testimony also calls into question the integrity of why his bank evicted senior citizens even when they owed as little as $1 while misleadingly blaming it on federal rules that were implemented after, not before, the foreclosures.”
– Bartlett Naylor, financial policy advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division


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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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