Is Raytheon Profiting From Its Former Lobbyist–Defense Secretary Esper?

There have been numerous mainstream media reports on how President Trump who based his 2016 campaign on a promise to “drain the swamp” has turned around and packed his administration with former lobbyists now making decisions that favor the industries they once lobbied for–essentially created a “TrumpSwamp”.

Among those former industry lobbyists now in the Trump administration is Defense Secretary Mark Esper who was a former lobbyist for weapons manufacturer Raytheon–a glaring conflict of interest. Defense Sec Esper’s conflict of interest has become more pronounced, and attracted the attention of ethics watchdog group CREW after the recent military strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Jan 3, 2020 that drove Raytheon stock prices to record highs.

Sec Esper and Secretary of State Pompeo are known to have pressured Trump to go with the military strike, even though top military officials did not recommend it. Was Sec Esper looking out for his old boss Raytheon? Hmm

Another issue that has caught ethics watchdog CREW’s attention is the fact that during his confirmation hearings, Sec Esper refused to recuse himself from all issues related to Raytheon while he was defense secretary and also refused to rule out returning to work for the weapons manufacturer after leaving the Trump administration. CREW’s concerns about Sec Esper and Raytheon are therefore quite valid.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is already raising questions as to whether Trump’s Maralago friends(typically lobbyists), profited from an advance notice on the Soleimani strike–essentially insider trading.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. Where, as here, Defense Sec Esper’s actions raise serious conflict of interest questions regarding weapons manufacturer Raytheon, then the mainstream media and congressional Democrats have a duty to confront Esper about it.

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IRS Commissioner’s Conflict Of Interest Re Trump’s Tax Returns

In yet another bombshell revelation from ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington(CREW), we now find out that President Trump’s handpicked IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who’s rebuffing Congressional demands for Trump’s tax returns, owns real estate at a Trump-branded property in Hawaii that has reportedly netted him more than $1 million in rental income since 2006.

According to CREW, Rettig acquired two one-bedroom condos at Trump International Waikiki in 2006 and has earned roughly $1 million income from the properties in rent and royalties. You’ll remember President Trump made a promotional stop at his Waikiki property in 2017. Commissioner Rettig apparently did not disclose this glaring conflict of interest at his confirmation hearing before Congress.

Needless to say, this is a glaring conflict of interest that casts in totally different/negative light Rettig’s refusal to release Trump’s tax returns. A credible argument can be made in light of this bombshell revelation, that in hiding Trump’s tax returns, Commissioner Rettig is by extension also hiding his own financial dealings from the public. Commissioner Rettig’s personal conflict of interest regarding Trump’s tax returns can only be cured if (1) he releases the tax returns so the public can see exactly what he owns at Trump International Waikiki or (2)he steps down as IRS Commissioner.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. Where, as here, it has been shown that the IRS Commissioner is earning rental income from real estate at a Trump branded property, then his motives for refusing to release Trump’s tax returns must be reexamined due to the glaring conflict of interest. Reasonable people will agree that this conflict of interest is so grave that it can only be cured by the IRS Commissioner releasing Trump’s tax returns or alternatively, relinquishing his post.

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Trump’s DC Hotel Spiked Room Rates From $500 To $6,700 For Trump Event

Ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reports that Trump Hotel DC spiked its daily room rates from the minimum $500 to a whopping $6,719 on December 14 2019, the same day the Trump Victory Committee had an event there(a staggering 13-fold spike in price). Because President Trump has yet to divest from his hotel, it is fair to say, and CREW says as much, that the proceeds from this obscene price hike went straight into Trump’s pockets.

The Trump Victory Committee(TVC) is a joint fundraising group that raises funds collectively for the Trump 2020 campaign, the republican national committee(RNC) and the various state republican committees rather than having these entities raise funds individually. It is the best testament to date that the modern GOP is 100% Trump’s party which leaves absolutely no room for a GOP primary challenger to President Trump.

According to CREW which did some digging, the minimum rate for a room at Trump Hotel DC a few days before December 14 was $500. Strangely however, all the “cheap” rooms were unavailable on December 14, meaning patrons had to cough up $6,719 for a room. The $6,719 reportedly came with a few extra political perks namely, a chance to dine with Vice President Mike Pence, attend an event headlined by Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway, and even meet President Trump himself. Nice!!

For the record, political campaigns run by both Republicans and Democrats regularly throw in political perks in an effort maximize their fundraising–$10,000 per plate, a chance to meet the president etc. In this particular case for example, Trump supporters would find it perfectly reasonable to pay $6,719 for a room if that gave them a chance to meet and take pictures with the president. What is different here however, which CREW is absolutely right to take issue with, is the fact that Trump has never divested from his businesses, which include Trump Hotel DC.

Therefore when his hotel spikes its minimum room price from $500 to $6,719 for such an event, it raises glaring conflict of interest questions because one can reasonably assume that the hotel and by extension Trump, pockets all or part of the the $6,719. President Trump is therefore personally profiting from this event, in violation of the domestic emoluments clause.

It also bears pointing out that per CREW, this is not the first time Trump’s DC Hotel has spiked room rates when hosting GOP-related fundraising events. This one particularly troubled the good folks at CREW because of the obscene 13-fold spike in rates, the highest they have ever seen, and an absolute travesty.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. Hosting a GOP fundraiser at Trump’s hotel is inherently a conflict of interest. Spiking hotel rates 13-fold on top of that? That’s corruption, plain and simple!!

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Did Trump Use Tariffs To Secure Argentinian Trademarks?

In yet another example of how President Trump is abusing his office for personal profit, ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and ethics in Washington (CREW) says Trump may have used tariffs to strong arm Argentina into granting two trademarks to his business, which he is yet to divest from.

CREW essentially takes issue with the peculiar sequence of events from the time Trump’s business appied for the trademarks to the time they were granted. According to CREW, Trump’s business applied for the Argentinian trademarks in December 2017 while aluminium and steel tarrifs were still in effect.

A few months after that, May 2018, while the trademarks were still pending, the Trump administration lifted the tariffs. In November 2019 with the tariffs still lifted, Argentina granted Trump’s business the requested trademarks. Shortly after securing the trademarks, the trump administration reinstated the aluminium and steel tariffs on Argentina–literally manipulating U.S. foreign policy for personal profit. Sickening corruption!!

You’ll remember similar accusations were made against Trump’s daughter Ivanka regarding the way she secured Chinese trademarks, which Yours Truly wrote about.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. Where, as here, tariffs are seemingly being abused to secure trademarks for Trump’s business, Congress and the mainstream media owe it to the public to get to the bottom of it.

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Did Trump Shake Down China For Ivanka’s Trademarks?

As President Trump continues to level corruption allegations against the Biden family in an effort to deflect attention away from his impeachment inquiry, many questions are likewise being raised about the business practices of his adult children chief among them, his daughter and Adviser Ivanka Trump.

Among the most questionable of Ivanka Trump’s trademarks are the three she reportedly received right after dining with China’s President Xi in 2017.

Well according to a CNBC piece citing Ethics Watchdog CREW, we are also finding out that China apparently approved some of Ivanka’s trademarks in May 2018, just a few days before President Trump lifted sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE. Yes, you heard that right–China approved Ivanka’s long-pending trademarks on the same week her father, President Trump, announced that he would be lifting sanctions on Chinese Telecom giant ZTE. The proximity between these two events (trademark approval and lifting of sanctions) have led some to reasonably speculate that Trump essentially shook China down for his daughter’s trademarks.

Ivanka applied for the said trademarks way back in 2016. Reasonable people will agree that it is kind of strange that China decided to approve the long-pending trademarks right before a favorable U.S. government decision on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

Bottom line as long as Ivanka continues to work at her father’s White House and meeting with world leaders including China’s, her trademarks will continue raising legitimate conflict of interest questions. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, listen to what Ethics Watchdog CREW says about this issue; “Since she has retained her foreign trademarks, the public will continue to have to ask whether President Trump has made foreign policy decisions in the interest of his and his family’s businesses….Her trademarks remain a potential conflict of interest as she continues to work on policy in the White House and meet with foreign leaders.”

Sorry Ivanka, the conflict of interest questions will only go away if you either quit your White House job or fully divest from your businesses. Until then, your trademarks are fair game, especially if your dad insists on attacking the Bidens.

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Ivanka’s Questionable Chinese Trademarks

As if her father’s numerous violations of the emoluments clause aren’t enough, we now find out that Ivanka Trump is also doing very questionable business deals while working at the White House. Ethics watchdog CREW reported in November 2018 about how Ivanka is racking up Chinese trademarks from her lofty White House perch–a glaring conflict of interest. The stunning detail in CREW’s report however was that in 2017, the Chinese government approved three of Ivanka’s trademarks right after she dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ivanka working at her dad’s White House is already problematic in that it raises legitimate questions of nepotism. Her business dealings while working at the White House clearly raise conflict of interest questions, especially now that her father, President Trump, is accusing his chief political rival Joe Biden of using his position as Obama’s Vice President to further the business interests of his son. Reasonable people will agree that if it is okay for President Trump to accuse his political opponent Biden of corruptly using the Vice Presidency to enrich his family, then it is perfectly okay to question Ivanka Trump’s business dealings–especially how she got trademarks approved right after dining with the Chinese President.

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Trump Has More Than 2,300 Conflicts Of Interest

CREW‘s Executive Director Noah Bookbinder yesterday appeared on CNN’s Outfront with Erin Burnett and made the bombshell revelation that according to their study, President Trump has more than 2,300 conflicts of interest. Importantly, Bookbinder said that the 2,300 number only accounts for the conflicts they [CREW] know about adding that the actual figure is higher because there are undoubtedly other conflicts of interest CREW is yet to uncover.

This level of corruption is absolutely shocking even by Trump administration standards. Five, maybe ten conflicts of interest for a public official would constitute alarming levels of corruption. Where, as here, we are talking about 2,000 plus cases, reasonable people will agree that we are in a whole new and very troubling territory. The entire Outfront segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Specifically, Bookbinder told CNN’s Erin Burnett, “We recently did a study where we found that in the past two and a half years there have been 2,300, more than 2,300 instances of conflicts of interest between the President’s business, his Presidency and those who are trying to influence it and it is literally multiple times a day that either members of Congress, members of the executive branch, political allies of the President, industries that are trying to influence him are bringing business to his properties. Those are only the ones that we know about because they have been publicly reported. There are undoubtedly more–foreign governments, domestic governments, and the list goes on..”

If you told a Republican in 2015 that in 2019 we would have a Republican President openly engaging in these shocking levels of corruption they would absolutely call you crazy. If you added that the Republican President would not only engage in these shocking levels of corruption but that fiscal conservatives would openly partake in and defend the said corruption, then you would be risking your life because the said 2015 Republican would probably exercise his 2nd amendment rights on you. Sadly, given CREW Executive Director Bookbinder’s revelation, this unthinkable scenario of extreme public corruption is exactly where we find ourselves today. We must not allow this to go on unchallenged.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. No reasonable person can with a straight face, defend a sitting President of the United States having more than 2,300 conflicts of interest as a result of businesses he was advised to fully divest from and decided not to. This is the quintessential in-your-face corruption that Americans have a moral obligation to push back against.

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