There are so many conflicts of interest in Washington D.C. that have consumed the U.S. political system that Americans are becoming numbed to them. It reminds me of the old story of the frog and boiling water. If you boil a pot of water and then toss a frog into the pot, it will immediately hop out. But, if you put the frog in a pot full of tap water, set the pot on a stove and slowly heat the water until it boils, the frog will boil. Many Americans have been in the “conflict of interest” boiling water pot for so long they do not understand what is happening. There are many conflicts right under our noses today and others that have been front and center over the last few years. Let’s look at a few:
Bill Clinton/The Clinton Foundation/Secretary Hillary Clinton
Wow. Where to begin! Foundations are typically established to raise tax free dollars for charitable purposes. The Clinton Foundation was no different. Bill Clinton was the official “rainmaker” for dollars when it was established. His being past President opened doors around the world for donation opportunities. According to IRS From 990, (which is the financial form all 501 c3 charitable organizations file) the year after Hillary left her post as Secretary of State, the Foundation received $148 million in contributions and had $85 million in “expenses.” Two questions immediately come to mind: where did the $148 million come from and where did the $85 million in expense go, especially since Bill, Hillary, nor Chelsey took salaries from the Clinton Foundation. There were extensive private jet charters, lavish receptions, “The Clinton Initiative” — which brings the Nation’s A-list Liberals to New York to rub shoulders each other every year and costs millions to produce — of course by the Clinton Foundation.
When Hillary Clinton was appointed by Obama as Secretary of State, she signed a form for herself as did the Clinton Foundation which bound both to not accept contributions from foreign governments during her service. The 2008 ethics agreement had been hashed out by top aides for President Obama and Clinton Foundation officials. The agreement provided an avenue for the foundation to accept donations from foreign governments that had never given before or were increasing the size of their donations. Those donations were to be submitted to the State Department for vetting. But State Department officials have said the process was never used. According to an email sent to Clinton Foundation officials, the ambassador to Qatar requested a meeting with former president Bill Clinton in 2012, apparently so that he could present a $1 million check that Qatar had promised in honor of Clinton’s birthday in 2011. Amitabh Desai, who served as a foreign-policy adviser to the former president, wrote other officials that he had met with the Qatari official. Using Clinton’s initials, Desai indicated that the ambassador had requested “to see WJC ‘for five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011.”
Hillary as Sec. of State had to sign off on the deal that brokered the sale of 20% of America’s uranium to a Russian entity controlled by President Putin. The initial sale was to a Canadian company who then sold to the Russian entity. The officers of the Canadian entity subsequently donated millions to the Clinton Foundation and Bill gave a $500,000 speech in Russia. Any conflicts of interest there?
Of course the multitude of speeches given to foreign entities — many with government ties — and the tens of millions of dollars that were subsequently made to the Foundation violated those two 2008 agreements.
Many Americans do not even care about the obvious conflict of interest represented here. Why can that be? Such has become so common place in Washington many just accept it as “business as usual.”
Attorney General Loretta Lynch re: Bill Clinton and Hillary email investigation
Bill Clinton was as part of the Clinton Foundation investigation underway by the FBI as a principal in that ongoing investigation: a subject of the matter and also a potential witness. How could the Attorney General of the United States meet with a person involved in an active case? Further, she wrote an email that many think was a product of her infamous Sky Harbor tarmac meeting with Bill telling the DNC that she would make sure that if the FBI investigation into Hillary got “sticky,” she would intervene. THEN she instructed FBI Director Comey to not call the HRC investigation an “investigation,” but rather a “matter.” Conflict of Interest and possibly Obstruction of Justice.
Former FBI Director James Comey
Comey — because of conflict — had no business investigating the Clinton email scandal. There are stark similarities to a previous Clinton scandal. In 1996, James Comey acted as the deputy special counsel for the Senate committee investigating the Whitewater scandal. The Senate was investigating shady real-estate loans authorized while Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas. (via ABC News) Many people connected to the Whitewater company were arrested and charged with over 40 crimes, yet the Clintons remained unscathed. James Comey acknowledged that Hillary Clinton obstructed the investigation and destroyed evidence, yet he decided not to prosecute due to lack of “intent.” That was in the Whitewater case! Sound familiar?
Additionally, through his brother Peter, James Comey has another Clinton conflict: Peter Comey is an executive at DLA Piper, the law firm responsible for filing the Clinton Foundation’s taxes. James Comey personally holds a significant mortgage on his brother’s home. Though that in itself is not a direct conflict, it further aggravates the conflict of interest in Comey’s involvement in the Clinton investigation and should have never been allowed. Because of ethics, James Comey should have recused himself. And necessary recusal does not stop with Comey.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
Everyone who knows Rod Rosenstein has nothing but good to say about him. In his Senate confirmation hearing, he was drilled with question after question by primarily Democrat Senators who were trying to link him in some way to President Trump and somehow disqualify him. He handled himself honestly and professionally. All who watched the hearing could in no way feel uncomfortable with his serving as Deputy AG. However, there are some problems of potential conflict that have arisen. And now Rosenstein himself has even mentioned a “possible” need for his recusal in the Russian investigation. The most obvious reason for Rosenstein to recuse himself would be the prospect of his being a potential witness in the obstruction of justice investigation against President Trump. Recently a leak from the special counsel investigation revealed that Trump is now a potential target — a leak clearly calculated to deter Trump from his reported consideration of firing Robert Mueller — the Special Counsel appointed by Rosenstein. If this account is false and Rosenstein is not thinking of recusing himself, he should be. He recommended that Comey be fired. That made him a critical player and potential witness to the events underlying the obstruction allegations. He also holds the final word on whether Mueller can continue as special counsel. That gives him a modicum of influence over a Special Prosecutor who could be investigating Rosenstein’s own role in the firing of Comey. Rosenstein could also be a witness on the narrative put out by the White House after the firing — citing Rosenstein as the moving force behind the termination (an account Rosenstein reportedly objected to as false or misleading).
Special Investigator Robert Mueller
Here’s where Conflict in all this begins to get really creepy. Robert Mueller actually interviewed with President Trump in the Oval Office for Comey’s job as FBI Director! Imagine the extent of conflict of interest for Mueller just for that. But it gets deeper. Not only did James Comey and Mueller work together in the Justice Department, they are close personal friends. Mueller recommended to then President Obama to appoint Comey as his replacement at the FBI. After Mueller was appointed Special Counsel by Rosenstein and Comey was asked to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mueller and Comey met to discuss what he was allowed to say to the Committee. How odd is that! Comey is a key witness in the Russia Investigation that Mueller was appointed to lead, Mueller is his close friend, Mueller applied for Comey’s position when President Trump fired Comey, and both Comey and Mueller’s longtime friend and associate while at the Justice Department with Rosenstein was appointed to investigate Russian election interference regarding possible involvement with the Trump Campaign! This example of collusion in D.C. and that no none has screamed of the conflict is mind boggling.
House Speaker Paul Ryan
This inclusion in the list of he most obvious with conflicts may surprise you. But the House Speaker has on multiple occasions during the campaign and since the election shown his disdain and vocal laugh of support for the person who G.O.P. delegates nominated to be the Party’s. candidate and then Americans elected to be the President. The Speaker of the House has several jobs but one main one: to work with the President (and coordinate with House members) to establish the legislation that the President was elected by the People to put in place. Ryan continues both quietly and sometimes vocally to reject Trump as President — maybe not outwardly, but often with actions and in-actions. But he very vocally has several times put distance between himself and President Trump: “There are basically two things that I want to make very clear, as for myself as your speaker. I am not going to defend Donald Trump, not now, not in the future, as you probably heard I dis-invited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend, I think I do one every year, and I’m not going to be campaigning with him in the next 30 days. Look, you guys know I have serious concerns about our nominee. I hope you appreciate that I’m doing what I think is best for you, the members, not what is best for me.” If there were questions about Paul Ryan’s ability and commitment to serve whoever was elected as President by Americans, that statement he made erased those questions. He has numerous Conflicts of Interest.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
I honestly could not believe that voters in Kentucky returned McConnell to the Senate. He walks a very thin line between being truly conservative and being a RINO — “Republican in Name Only.” And he does NOT like President Trump. Just like Ryan as House Speaker, McConnell as the Majority Leader in the Senate has the principle job of getting the legislation (promised by the President during his campaign and for which voters elected him) written and passed in the Senate. Not only has McConnell slow played to the extreme getting legislation passed, he has both during the campaign and since the election been a vocal detractor of President Trump in similar fashion the Ryan. The fact that the Republican leader in the House would ignore the will of the American people who elected the President and who also assured G.O.P. control of not only the White House, but both the House and the Senate, and embark on a path of his own in the Senate. That in itself conflicts McConnell in many ways.
There are numerous other Conflicts in Washington D.C. that are perpetuating the significant and rapid decline of simply representing Americans and working with the White House going about the Peoples’ business every day. Do you know what’s scary? Americans are becoming more and more numb to the Conflicts daily. It seems acceptance of Conflicts as simply normal operating procedures for our government is dangerously eroding the effectiveness of Constitutional work by ALL in federal public service in D.C.
I remember a time when being in Congress, the White House, or being staff members or even interns or volunteers in any department of the U.S. Government were admirable, honorable, garnered respect from Americans. But for many years now the approval ratings by Americans for those in Congress has hovered in the teens. The same holds true for most others in D.C. Trust in their true representation of Americans is withering a little more each day. And the danger is that the thin line between representative democracy and socialist and totalitarian government withers away along with Americans’ trust.
President Trump with his sometimes narcissistic attitude and brash ways of communication seems to be the first American President in decades that conservative American voters can relate to and therefore support him in his efforts. Ask some who live somewhere other than the two coasts or Chicago how they feel about the job he’s doing. Don’t trust the polling agencies: they are just like the Congressional Budget Office when they make financial predictions — they’re usually way off and always have their own agenda.
It’s time for all those with Conflicts of Interest with Americans and this Administration to step aside. They in spite of making commitments to serve Americans and those in authority American voters put there illustrate daily their major Conflicts of Interest: they choose to “do their own thing.” At a company when any employee who knows the plans and directives that company’s Administration has put in place and that employee refuses to comply with “the bosses,” those “bosses” put that employee in the road.
Americans are the bosses. Let’s stop the Conflicts and put those people on the street.