U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, both well-known Democrats, have just called for a federal investigation to be conducted by the Government Accountability Office into President-elect Donald Trump’s transition efforts.
Trump’s transition team has been rocked by “disarray” as Warren and Cummings note at the beginning of their letter requesting the investigation before laying out their reasons for requesting the investigation. Trump’s transition team is running on taxpayer money while Trump is not, in their estimation, appropriately separating his personal interests from the public interests, which are the only legitimate domain in which to spend taxpayer money.
The pair began their letter, with the emphasis added, “We are writing today to request that the GAO conduct a review of President-Elect Trump’s taxpayer-funded transition.”
‘Mr. Trump’s apparent conflicts of interest — and his behavior during the campaign and after his election — raise questions about the use of taxpayer funds during the transition.’
Indeed, Trump has been allocated almost ten million dollars by Congress for him to put towards his side of working towards the peaceful transition of power come January, but, in many respects, he is squandering that cash.
He has, for example, cultivated his business ties while under the cover of working on behalf of his transition team. President-elect Trump has, as the Democrats note, met “in his office at Trump Tower with ‘three Indian business partners’ and his adult children, who will soon take over his company.” He held that meeting while “taking a break” from transition efforts.
The main problem is that for him to have such a personal stake remaining in his business ties as to hold such a meeting breaks the protocol that a president establish a “blind trust” to care for his business assets upon being elected to the presidency.
Another point of contention is that Trump used the first step towards building an official relationship with the president of Argentina – the latter’s congratulatory phone call on the occasion of Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton – to put in a plug for a Trump-branded property in Argentina which was awaiting governmental approval for its development.
That property is, in fact, now moving forward with its development since the phone call, and Warren and Cummings want the federal government to hold Trump seriously accountable for this and other breaches of protocol when it comes to conflicts of interest being funded on taxpayer’s dime.
In addition to the concerns over corrupting business ties, Warren and Cummings cite other issues as well, such as whether or not Trump has followed proper security procedures in his interactions with foreign governments.
The present issue with Trump’s transition efforts is not the first time that serious issues have arisen with seemingly improper allocation of funds from within the Trump camp since the businessman rose to political power.
Months into the campaign season, for example, multiple media organizations uncovered illegal money transfers carried on by Trump through his “charity” foundation, one of which was so egregious that the businessman was forced to pay stiff penalties.
Warren has long been a fierce public critic of Trump, confronting him on Twitter and defending Hillary Clinton multiple times during the campaign season, besides publicly appearing on behalf of Clinton’s presidential candidacy numerous times, as well.
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