Mitch McConnell: Democrats Trying to Delay Confirmations Need to 'Grow Up'
- Author: Kyle Peterson Jan 10, 2017,
Jan 10, 2017, 0:08
The director of the Office of Government Ethics has written Senate leaders to express concern about the lack of ethics reviews just days before those hearings.
In a letter to Senate Democrats, Walter Shaub, Jr. said the busy hearing schedule had overwhelmed his office. Not only will at least nine of his Cabinet nominees begin their Senate confirmation hearings, but the president-elect himself will face reporters at a long-awaited press conference, where he may address how he plans to separate his business interests from his presidency.
For Trump's 19 current cabinet level appointees, Schumer spokesman Matt House said on Friday five have ethics agreements, six have filed financial disclosure reports, eight have submitted their federal tax returns and one had cleared the FBI background check. Republicans, on the other hand, have argued, they are only trying to ensure Trump has as many of his nominees as possible confirmed by the time he assumes office. He said the Democrats and the OGE have "all the details they need" and that the process has to move faster. The Senate and the American people deserve to know that these Cabinet nominees have a plan to avoid any conflicts of interest, that they're working on behalf of the American people and not their own bottom line, and that they plan to fully comply with the law. "This suggests that there has been a real breakdown between the transition and the Office of Government Ethics".
He also wrote that any attempt Trump might make to create a blind trust for his businesses without help from the ethics office is likely to fail.
Senate confirmation hearings are set to begin Tuesday, with 10 nominees scheduled to go before various Senate panels next week.
"You've got to define "troublesome" and then you've got to pick your target", said Light. Seven of President Obama's nominees received confirmation by his inauguration.
That committee's rules state that it can not hold a vote on the nominee without the ethics form.
"Donald Trump's nominees can't drag their feet on their required ethics paperwork while their friends in the Senate try to run out the clock", Warren wrote.
"These rushed hearings must be delayed until the ethics reviews are finished, and if Trump and the GOP-led Senate fail to do so, the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they are concerned about what will be exposed". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has scheduled six confirmation hearings for Wednesday, including hearings for some of the most critical posts in Washington, from secretary of state to Central Intelligence Agency director to attorney general.
Republicans charge that Democrats are holding Trump's choices to a different standard than Obama's.
Committees handling those nominations did not return a request for comment on the records.
The last full week of Barack Obama's presidency is packed with work setting up the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.