Norma Schatz December Democratic Letter

To Plymouth Harbor Democrats…and others who care                    December, 2019

    He said he would drain the swamp but the swamp's gotten swampier.

  Federal ethics rules, among other things, include a so-called “cooling off” period preventing senior executive branch officials from lobbying their former agencies for one year. A HuffPost review (11/17/19)found that at least 11 former officials have landed jobs in industry or       lobbying since leaving the federal agency. The Interior Dept’s Office of Inspector General called for a probe of six current and former officials who maintained close ties to former employers, calling it a disturbing pattern of misconduct. But there is more.
-Republicans confirmed Secretary David Bernhardt, a fossil fuel lobbyist, to lead the Department of the Interior.  Interior Secretary Bernhardt is a former Oil & Gas lobbyist who, four days into his tenure, had an investigation launched into his “conflicts of interests and other   violations.”
-Fred Fleitz, appointed by Trump to the National Security Council, is the co-author of an extremist report that says the government should expel Muslim Americans and strip them of their U.S. citizenship.
-The Department of Justice has a new assistant attorney general, Brian Benczkowski. He’ll be in charge of the Criminal Division; he has no background in criminal law . In the private sector, he represented Russia-based Alfa Bank.
-Trump has nominated Barry Myers to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which oversees the National Weather Service.  A business man with no science background, Myers has for years tried to privatized the National Weather Service.
-Transportation Sec’y Elaine Chao helped with applications for grants of at least $78 million for projects  in husband Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky before his campaign for reelection.  
    -Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, former coal lobbyist and defender of major polluters, is carrying out much of the fossil fuel 
       industries deregulation. New EPA regulations - without any public input - allows  political appointees to decide what should or should not be made public under theFreedom of Information Act.                                                                                                                                   
      -Alex Azar, Sec’y of Health and Human Services, is a former pharmaceutical industry exec and Eugene Scallia is the recently appointed anti-worker Secretary of Labor.                                                                                                 - 
      -Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has financial stakes in the industries she's supposed to be regulating. She tried to remove the independent Inspector General from overseeing the Dept of Ed and hired the former dean of a for-profit institute that had agreed to pay $100 million 
       in damages to the students it defrauded.  She was held in contempt by a federal judge after she violated an order to stop collecting loans owed by students who had been defrauded.                                                              
      -Sec’y of State Pompeio has not backed up his own State Dept. foreign service professionals.                                    
      -Federal courts have been filled with extreme right-wing, relatively young lifetime judicial appointments. It has been reported that several of them were not considered qualified by their states’ Bar Associations. 
        An example is Steven Menashi to the Court of Appeals who, according to Sen. Dick Durbin, had “never tried a case or made any oral arguments in court or conducted a deposition.”  He had, however, worked as counsel to Betsy DeVos on student loan policy  and on immigration          policy in the White House with Stephen Miller.                                             
     - Rep.Vern Buchanan recently cosponsored an animal abuse bill but voted against the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019.                                  
     -Daily Kos reported that while signing the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act  Donald Trump wondered why it hadn't been done before.                 
      This is your government - the present one.  Will you do your part to make a change in November?

Your comments and suggestions welcomed here.  

Norma Schatz

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