Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dateline Trump White House and Administration: More Violations of Ethics Rules

Trump Philosophy: Try Anything; Get Caught; Dodge, Duck, Deny
[Then Try Again]

We Don't Need No Stinking Oversight, Either
[/s/ Trump Family Empire, Inc.]

This falls in line with the whole Trump family mission: Market Trump 24/7 anyway possible.

This from the AP via the Washington Post: (with my emphasis) — Barely five months into office, President Donald Trump keeps taking time out from governing to run for re-election.
On Wednesday night (June 28, 2017), Trump will attend his first 2020 campaign fundraiser, rubbing elbows with some of the Republican Party's top donors on familiar turf: his own hotel down the street from the White House.
He's already spent five evenings on the road at political rallies, always in states that supported him in November and always in front of an audience of thousands of fans who are screened and selected by his campaign aides.
The historically early campaigning comes with clear fundraising benefits, but it has raised red flags.
Among them: Government employees have inappropriately crossed over into campaign activities, tax dollars may be subsidizing some aspects of campaign events, and as a constant candidate, the president risks alienating Americans who did not vote for him.
Larry Noble, former general counsel to the FEC said the early campaigning creates plenty of “potential tripwires, and they're going to have to proceed very carefully to avoid violations.”
The White House ensures that political entities pay for campaign events, and White House lawyers provide advice to employees to make sure they do not run afoul of rules preventing overtly political activities on government time, spokeswoman Lindsay Walter said Tuesday.
The Trump team has decided that any risks are worth it.
The re-election effort raised more than $7 million in the first three months of this year, all from small donations and the sale of “Make America Great Again” merchandise.
Wednesday's dinner is his first solicitation of larger donors, with tickets starting at $35,000. Trump can ask for those large donations because the money is to be split between his re-election campaign and Republican Party groups.
Campaign director Michael Glassner has said the rallies give Trump the chance to speak directly and powerfully to his base of supporters. And the president is clearly energized by his campaign rallies.
But Trump's social media guru, who now works at the White House, is Exhibit A on the dangers of running a permanent campaign – his name is Dan Scavino.
Details on that: The Office of the Special Counsel (OSC), an independent agency that investigates federal personnel, reprimanded Scavino for violating the Hatch Act, a Federal law prohibiting the use of government resources for campaigning.
Scavino had tweeted a call to defeat a Republican representative who is often critical of Trump. 
And, Scavino sent a message from his government Twitter handle that mentioned both Trump's presidential appearance in Iowa and his political rally there later that night.

“Mr. Scavino has been advised that if in the future he engages in prohibited political activity while employed in a position covered by the Hatch Act, we will consider such activity to be a willful and knowing violation of the law,” the counsel's office wrote in a June 5 response to a liberal-funded watchdog that had complained about the tweet. 
FYI: Scavino earns a government salary as White House director of social media, and his company continues to financially benefit from the Trump campaign. Scavino & Associates collected $14,500 for consulting from Trump's re-election campaign in the first three months of this year, FEC reports show. 
He's not the only person juggling duties.
At an April Trump campaign rally in Harrisburg, PA, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was photographed signing a “Trump/Pence” poster for a fan.
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that photo from her government account with the Trump campaign slogan “MAGA — short for Make America Great Again.”

CREW filed a Hatch Act complaint about Sanders, and the Office of Special Counsel cleared her because her tweets didn't push for her boss's re-election. The office said in public guidance issued in February that Trump's early decision to become a candidate needed a special approach for how to navigate the Hatch Act. 
Because the 2020 election is still more than three years away, at this time not all expressions of support or opposition to President Trump constitute political activity for purposes of the Hatch Act. Closer to the election, it warned, the prohibitions will broaden. For exampe, in April, the campaign made its first new commercial, a celebration of the president's first 100 days in office. 
That 30-second ad included a clip of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in uniformThat is a huge “no-no under DOD rules that prohibit active duty military members from political advocacy while in uniform.” The campaign removed the footage.
Trump's predecessors also took heat for commingling presidential and political duties when they began running for re-election.
Another example: In 2012, Reince Priebus, as then head of the RNC. He complained to the GAO that President Barack Obama was “fraudulently billing the government for political travel.”
Note: Mr. Obama said he carefully followed the rules about when his campaign must reimburse the government.
Now, Priebus is Trump's chief of staff. He joined the president at a February campaign rally in Melbourne, FL. So far, no reimbursements to the Secret Service, which operates Air Force One, have shown up in the Trump campaign's FEC reports.
Hypocrite comes to mind, um, Reince old boy – you are pathetic.

Bottom line: I refer you back to our friend in the photo above.
Donald J. Trump is acting like a CEO of America. He seems to think he is in some new TV reality show “board room” screening contestants for the show’s next segment for another “big announcement” (to drum up hype for more viewers.
All the while he dishes out orders to subordinates. In the end, however, it is he who is not rolling up his sleeves and even coming up close to being presidential and pushing to get things does or taking responsibility when things fail.
In short, Donald J. Trump is shirking his duties and responsibilities as our president. At least in my view – what about you?
Related earlier post and this, which I pulled from an original article and edited it to fit the blog format, however the entire whole article is worth the read, even a bookmark for later. I found it a very interesting topic on this subject. 
With that, I rest my case. Thanks for stopping by.

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