If everybody is worried about your administration being a horribly unethical swamp of cronyism and corruption, the best thing you can do is… uh, ignore the ethics watchdogs entirely?!
That’s apparently the move Donald Trump‘s transition team is making as the President-elect prepares to officially enter the White House in less than two weeks, according to a damning new report out from NBC.
The Office Of Government Ethics, and its director, Walter Shaub, have been emailing and calling Trump aides steadily since the election but, according to new emails obtained by MSNBC from Shaub, "we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election."
In the entire series of emails, Shaub is sobering and forthright, pointing out that Trumps transition team must be monitored by "crucial ethics guidance," lest they break federal rules.
In one email, referring a federal conflict of interest, Shaub wrote to a Trump aide:
"They run the risk of having inadvertently violated the criminal conflicts of interest restriction at 18 USC 208. If we don’t get involved early to prevent problems we won’t be able to help them after the fact."
Another major point for Shaub and the office is Trump’s need to create a "blind trust" for his business holdings in order to avoid conflicts of interest — something the Trump team has been severely dragging its feet over for two months now.
Bradley Moss, a federal employment lawyer who helped oversee the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain all these emails, didn’t mince words about the Trump transition’s blatant desire to just avoid accountability completely.
"Conspicuously absent is any evidence of the preparations allegedly being undertaken by President-Elect Trump to resolve potential conflicts of interest through some manner of divestment. If the President-Elect’s lawyers and compliance officers are not coordinating with [the Office of Government Ethics], who, if anyone, within the government are they coordinating on these matters?"
You already know the answer to that.