The White House / Flickr trump meeting...
The White House / Flickr

If Trump and his fellow Republicans fill the swamp any deeper you’ll need to charter a boat to visit the Washington Monument.

Federal agencies issued just a handful of waivers exempting political appointees from conflict of interest rules in the first three months of the administration, a reflection in part of how President Trump has made it easier for lobbyists to work in agencies they once sought to influence.

Why don’t the 80-plus lobbyists who Trump has or is planning to put into government need waivers freeing them to do so despite federal ethical rules? Because Team Trump said they no longer need to, that’s why.

That’s because an executive order that Trump signed in January did away with a rule laid down by former president Barack Obama banning lobbyists from joining agencies they had lobbied in the previous two years.

The previous rule was that lobbyists couldn’t be made part of agencies that they had previously made cash money lobbying at. The new Trump rule is that lobbyists can now do exactly that, they just have to recuse themselves from any specific issue they had previously been paid to advocate for.

Except that at least ten of those lobbyists have already gotten waivers from even that requirement. Oh, and it appears that if members of the administration break the ethics rules Trump will simply give them a retroactive waiver afterward.

What can we even say, at this point? The man loves his swamp.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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