Dereliction of Duty Spawned by Rabid Partisan Allegiance
Jason Chaffetz is a surprisingly unscrupulous man. Charged with the awesome role as the House Oversight Chairman, he’s extended his power in a decidedly partisan – and entirely unprincipled and wasteful – manner. Chaffetz launched numerous high profile investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails, charity, and alleged Benghazi…something (Republicans are never quite clear on what Clinton supposedly did wrong surrounding the tragedy). All of these investigations, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars, yielded zero evidence of any improprieties or political ammunition effective on any aside from the nation’s most ignorant (so much for fiscal conservatism). Even after the election, on Inauguration Day, Chaffetz, in a crude message, announced that he will continue the fruitless and politically motivation witch hunt into Clinton’s affairs. Based on this irrational activity and clear desire to throw his political power into nothing-burgers, surely Chaffetz would jump at the opportunity to use his committee to investigate actual improprieties. Right?
Wrong. President Donald Trump’s innumerable scandals have already shrouded his young presidency in doubt and an air of illegitimacy. Just a few weeks into his tenure, his approval rating dropped to 35 percent, lower than President Barack Obama’s at any point in his 8 years, and the lowest approval rating at this point in a presidential term since such data collection. Trump’s scandals range from Russian interference in the election – a small act of war – to constitutional violations (Trump has violated both the foreign and the domestic emoluments clauses) worthy of impeachment. Yet when asked whether he was concerned with Trump reaping financial rewards from unconstitutional behavior, Chaffetz responded, with a shrug: “He’s already rich. He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.”
That from the same individual who’s squandered taxpayer dollars trying – and failing – to prove that the Clintons used their charity, which literally saves millions of lives, to benefit financially while Hillary led the State Department.
It also demonstrates Chaffetz’s shocking ignorance and total inability to grasp the personality of his party’s leader – that, or a willful ignorance since his investigation could endanger Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump, of course, acts only to “line his pockets even more.” Back in 2000, Trump claimed that “it’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.” And he did just that. The Trump campaign solicited and accepted millions of dollars from the working and middle class; they then took that money and paid Trump-owned firms and businesses millions of dollars. After his victory, the pattern continued as Trump took the unprecedented action of refusing to fully divest from his sprawling web of businesses. This has led to him and his companies reaping millions in benefits because of Trump’s position as president.
Trump’s DC hotel – his continued ownership of which violates its leasing agreement – has attracted an incredible amount of foreign business. For instance, the Bahrain embassy held a lavish celebration at Trump’s DC hotel a few weeks after Trump’s surprise victory, likely spending millions at a venue from which Trump continues to profit. Now, Trump has reversed an Obama-era stipulation that Bahrain must improve human rights conditions before purchasing US fighter jets. President Trump, months after receiving a large windfall from a foreign government hosting an event at his property, made it easier for that foreign government to purchase fighter jets, human rights concerns be darned. This is the exact type of dubious dealing that the Founders sought to curtail with the Foreign Emoluments Clause. It’s a textbook constitutional violation, one that ought to be investigated by Jason Chaffetz’s committee, but one that won’t be because Chaffetz figures it couldn’t possibly harm us or the world if Trump becomes a little richer while in office.
Similarly, when asked about Jared Kushner’s family “exploring a $400 million deal with a Chinese company while he serves as a foreign policy adviser to the president,” Chaffetz determined that, too, does not merit an investigation because “I don’t see how that affects the average American and their taxpayer dollars. Just the fact that a staff person’s family is making money? It’s not enough.” Never mind that we’ve already seen kickbacks from the Trump administration to those who give him money (not to mention that Trump’s executive order that seeks to make legal his desired Muslim ban conveniently excludes countries in which he owns property). Never mind that Kushner, a largely unsuccessful businessman thrust into the real estate limelight because his father was jailed, would see an extraordinary windfall from this deal at exactly the time he’s advising the president on how to proceed with North Korea and an increasingly regionally dominant China.
This amounts to a clear dereliction of duty. Jason Chaffetz, who hounded Clinton for much less, frivolously spending taxpayer dollars as he did so, refuses to investigate Trump’s clear constitutional violations and extraordinary conflicts of interest that entangle Trump’s top advisers. These conflicts risk America’s interest being put behind the financial interests of those running the executive branch. It is precisely Jason Chaffetz’s duty to investigate such violations and conflicts to ensure that the executive branch works for Americans, not the solely the Trump clan.
Jason Chaffetz is a scoundrel, a weakling whose word means little and whose principles – or lack thereof – shaped a man motivated by partisan animosity, not love for country or a patriotic sense of duty.