Trump’s National Security Advisor Becomes Target Of Potential Ethics Violation Issues

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In the little time that the Trump administration has taken office, just barely over a quarter into its four-year term, the turnover rate that has been seen from the White House has been staggering. Not only is the number itself record-breaking in relation to Trump’s predecessors, but it provides insight into both the difficulty of working with the current president, as well as shedding light on the shady nature of many of his picks. As top cabinet officials have been ousted one by one, those that Trump has chosen to replace the previous positions are proving to be just as detrimental as the last, if not worse.

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One of the more prominent and recent replacements is seen in that of the new National Security Advisor John Bolton, taking the place that was previously filled by H.R. McMaster. Aside from being infamous for his overly aggressive hawkish ideals, Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, recent reports have identified potential conflicts of interest that may be arising even before Bolton has taken on his new role.

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A report from CNBC found that:

‘The exact sticking points for Bolton are unclear, but ethics experts say the appearance of a possible future role for Bolton with an entity such as a political action committee could be a cause for concern for White House officials. Bolton’s PAC and super PAC, which are no longer receiving or spending capital, have been financial players in the early going of the midterm election cycle.’

Given the outward activity of these committees that have been directly under Bolton’s control, their ongoing operations, especially in relation to the upcoming midterm elections, may become violations of ethics guidelines so long as he remains active in the entities. Despite the fact that Bolton’s two PACs have ceased to receive or spend money since the announcement of his new role, ethics lawyers outside of the administration are skeptical as to why the two committees have yet to formally shut down.

Political Action Committees (PACs), especially Super PACs, have had a vast influence on the outcome of elections in the last few years, as their ability to curate massive amounts of money have allowed them to tip the scales in various elections races. Although guidelines state that PACs may not directly support a given candidate, numerous loopholes exist that grant these organizations the ability sway elections through advertisements on television and online.

Ethics lawyers are now looking into Bolton’s involvement with his current PACs in regards to the Hatch Act, which outlines that PACs in the name of federal employees would cause a violation of solicitation provisions, so long as they continue to accept donations. Bolton’s move to cease funding operations in his PACs may be an attempt to just barely abide by these regulations, while still maintaining an extent of influence on elections races. As attorneys continue to look into Bolton’s situation, it sheds light on the ongoing fact that no matter who Trump appoints to key positions, conflicts of interest and ethics violations tend to be a consistently emerging pattern.

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