Schumer: GOP Should Stop Trying to ‘Jam Through’ Nominees
Chuck Schumer wants Trump’s cabinet picks to undergo ethics screenings before they are appointed.
The Hill reports:
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D) on Saturday accused Senate Republicans of trying to “jam through” President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees without the proper ethics screenings.
The New York senator called the flurry of confirmation hearings scheduled for next week “unprecedented” and admonished GOP lawmakers for rushing to confirm “unvetted” appointees.
“The Senate and the American people deserve to know that these cabinet nominees have a plan to avoid any conflicts of interest, that they’re working on behalf of the American people and not their own bottom line, and that they plan to fully comply with the law,” Schumer said.
“Senate Republicans should heed the advice of this independent office and stop trying to jam through unvetted nominees,” he added.
Earlier Saturday, the director of the Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), expressing concern about the hearing schedule and admitting that several appointees had not gone through the necessary background checks.
“As OGE’s director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me,” Walter Shaub, Jr. wrote in the letter.
“This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews.”
Shaub acknowledged that several of Trump’s appointees had not yet completed the screening process, though he did not mention any names.
The Senate is set to hold a whirlwind of confirmation hearings next week for seven of Trump’s Cabinet picks. After Shaub’s letter went public on Saturday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) called for Senate Republicans to delay the hearings.
Appointed public officials who must be confirmed by the Senate are required to file employment and financial disclosures under the 1978 Ethics in Government Act, a process that Shaub said takes “weeks, not months.”
A Democratic Senate aide said that four appointees have not yet filed disclosures with OGE: Housing and Urban Development Secretary-designate Ben Carson, Education secretary pick Betsy DeVos, Homeland Security nominee Michael Kelly and Commerce secretary pick Wilbur Ross.
Kelly is set to go before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, DeVos is slated to have her confirmation hearing Wednesday, and hearings for Carson and Ross are expected to take place Thursday.
Photo credit: CNN/Screenshot.