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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Bribery Alleged As Foreign Govt Overbooks Trump Hotel Rooms

Remember when somebody projected the words “PAY TRUMP BRIBES HERE” at his DC hotel and the brouhaha that ensued? Well, according to a Politico piece, there is currently an investigation by the House Oversight Committee into this very topic–attempted bribery of President Trump.

Apparently, a foreign government (unspecified) and a local trade association booked a lot of rooms at Trump’s DC hotel, but only used a fraction of the rooms. Reasonable people will agree that it is very strange for an individual or an organization to book a large number of rooms at a pricey hotel like Trump’s and only use some of them. The House Oversight Committee is rightfully looking at this as an effort to bribe the president.

Rep Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a member of the House Oversight Committee said “Now we’re looking at near raw bribery…that was the risk from Day One: foreign governments and others trying to seek favor because we know Trump pays attention to this. … It’s an obvious attempt to curry favor with him.”

Its also important to point out here that this is precisely the reason why public officials are strongly advised to fully divest from their business interests upon assuming office. Contrary to popular belief, divestiture is actually for the public official’s own good and not meant as a “punishment” or burden as most people assume. In this particular case for example, even though there may be a perfectly legitimate reason for the booked hotel rooms to go unused, Trump cannot avoid the appearance of impropriety because he owns the hotel. Had he fully divested as he had promised to do prior to assuming office he would not have to deal with these bribery allegations.

Politico further reports that the House Oversight Committee is looking into this alleged bribery incident as part of the impeachment inquiry which means if they discover some concrete evidence, emoluments clause violations and public corruption may be among the articles of impeachment

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. If the House Oversight Committee digs up evidence of bribery in this investigation, they should not hesitate to incorporate them into the articles of impeachment. Speaker Pelosi is absolutely right that the focus of the impeachment inquiry should be on Ukraine. Democrats however should not close the door to Trump’s flagrant use of his office for personal enrichment. He needs to be held accountable for that too.

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Pompeo Attemps To Normalize Trump’s Emoluments Clause Violations

Speaking at a Republican political event held at Trump Tower (as sickening as that sounds already), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a sorry attempt at normalizing President Trump’s emoluments clause violations by addressing it as a joke. It was very clear what the Secretary of State was trying to convey with his “joke” and that is, that he and his fellow Republicans think concerns about corruption/self-dealing by Trump are all a big joke being peddled by the media–in this case the Washington Post which he specifically referred to.

Specifically, Pompeo jockingly said, “I look around. This is such a beautiful hotel. The guy who owns it must have been successful somewhere along the way.” He then looked up and added, “That was for the Washington Post.” There’s no other way to read Sec Pompeo’s “joke” other than an effort to characterize Trump’s emoluments clause violations as a non consequential matter that only the media cares about. We’ve heard similar arguments from Trump and his son Don,Jr who routinely dismiss important questions with the refrain, “only the fake media cares about that.”

One has to admit that that it is very troubling to hear someone like Sec Pompeo who whether you agree with his politics or not, is incredibly well regarded in Washington by both Democrats and Republicans, seemingly excusing corruption. The fact that he too appears to have been wholly swallowed by the corruption cesspit that is the Trump administration, that he feels very comfortable normalizing such behavior, should be sending alarm bells everywhere.

You’ll also remember that after Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to Ireland that caused a huge emoluments clause scandal, Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent Sec Pompeo a sternly-worded letter asking him to explain the extent of his State Department’s involvement in VP Pence’s decision to stay at Trump’s Irish resort. Sec Pompeo therefore, should be the last person joking about emoluments clause violations.

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. We must not allow Sec Pompeo or anyone else for that matter, to normalize Trump’s corruption and Yours Truly sincerely hopes congressional Democrats and the mainstream media will severely call him out for his “joke” about public corruption. Simply put folks, there’s nothing funny about public corruption and if Sec Pompeo doesn’t get it then he definitely needs to get out of public service.

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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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Ronna McDaniel Helping Trump Pocket RNC Money

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel

Troubling Huffington Post piece exposes how the Republican National Committee (RNC) under Ronna McDaniel is increasingly spending money at Trump’s properties across the nation, essentially lining Trump’s pockets. It is well known, certainly to RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, that Trump never fully divested from his business interests when he became President in 2016. Therefore Ronna McDaniel cannot turn around and say she doesn’t know that by holding RNC events at Trump’s properties, she is essentially lining Trump’s pockets. This is, to use Sen Elizabeth Warren’s famous wording, “corruption, plain and simple.”

According to the Huffington Post piece, during the first two years of Trump’s presidency, RNC spent $1.3 million at Trump properties. Now that the Emoluments Clause debate is front and center after Vice President Mike Pence’s Ireland scandal, one can only hope that the mainstream media will finally confront Chair McDaniel and ask her to justify RNC spending at Trump’s properties.

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. It’s about time someone screamed about RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel’s plains and simple corruption!!

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Political Spending At Trump’s Properties Spikes 50 Fold

An interesting segment on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews says political spending at Trump’s properties has spiked 50 fold, from $119,000 during the 2011-2014 period to $5,600,000 during the 2017-2019 period. What’s even more troubling is that one Republican from California who is running for Congress essentially admitted that his fellow Republicans look at their Trump property spending as a bribe. He said, “When you have an event there or do something there, it signifies that you are supporting the president, and supporting what he is doing…It sends a clear message.” There is no other way to read this statement other than Republicans are spending money at Trump’s properties to buy favors from him–essentially bribing him. This kind of corruption which we see in third world dictatorships must never be tolerated here in the U.S.

It also turns out according to the Hardball segment that so far 90 Members of Congress have made a total of 188 visits to Trump’s properties and 250 Trump administration officials have made a total of 630 visits. In addition to this some 110 foreign officials from 60 countries have patronized Trump’s properties. Trump as we know has yet to fully divest from the said properties meaning he is flagrantly violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. constitution.

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. We must not allow this third world style corruption exhibited by Trump and his GOP to go unchallenged.

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Pompeo’s State Dept Complicit In Pence’s Corruption

You’ve heard about the fallout from Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to Ireland where he sought out a Trump property three hours away from Dublin, where he was scheduled to hold an official visit. Many including Yours Truly did not mince words and called this exactly what it was–a naked attempt by VP Pence to steer taxpayer funds towards Trump’s Irish property, the quintessential public corruption.

Well it turns out Dem Senator and 2020 Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has introduced an interesting little nugget to VP Pence’s Ireland scandal. Sen Warren wants to know the extent of Pompeo’s State Department’s involvement in VP Pence’s Ireland scandal.

In a sternly worded letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen Warren wrote, “I am writing to request information regarding recent reports that Vice President Mike Pence patronized President Donald Trump’s Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg while in Ireland – at the ‘suggestion’ of the President. This transaction – another example of what appears to be open corruption in this administration – deepens my concerns about the ongoing ethics issues related to the President’s continued financial relationship with the Trump Organization and the abuse of taxpayer funds to enrich the President and his family through their business interests.”

Senator Warren, whose Presidential campaign appeared very shaky in the beginning prompting some mainstream media pundits to even suggest that she drop out, has since steadily caught steam in large part due to her “I can fix that” attittude. Americans have always been favorable to a “can do” attitude so it’s perfectly understandable why a lot of Dem primary voters are increasingly getting drawn into Sen Warren’s campaign. Hopefully Sen Warren has a “fix” for what appears to be unfettered corruption by the Trump administration. Given her stern letter to Sec Pompeo over VP Pence’s corruption, it is fair to assume that she’s serious about “fixing” the Trump-inspired corruption in Washington.

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. It is especially heartwarming to hear someone as highly placed as Sen Warren screaming loudly about this brazen corruption. Way to go Sen Warren. Fix this!!

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You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com