Donald Trump plunges democracy into a three-alarm fire of corruption
On Tuesday, the president removed Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine. He had just been designated to oversee the newly created Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a watchdog panel authorized by Congress to conduct oversight of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. The same day, Trump said he had seven IGs in his sights — prompting Sen. Chris Murphy to announce he would draft a bill to “give all Inspectors General protected 7 year terms.”
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The irony here is that Republicans once cautioned about this exact thing before Trump infected them and they abandoned every principle they once proclaimed to stand for. There was a time when oversight over massive government spending was the centerpiece of the Republican oversight agenda. My former boss and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa actually declared that “This money, at the American people’s expense, going through the hands of political leaders, in in fact corrupting the process.” He literally called the Obama administration “the most corrupt government in history.” Where are those Republicans now?
In the course of three days, Trump fired an IG for telling the truth, attacked another for exposing the totality of a health care pandemic, and removed another in a brazen effort to avoid being held accountable for how trillions of taxpayer dollars will be allocated. The sum of these actions is nothing short of blatant corruption in plain sight. Free from the limitations of accountability, there is nothing stopping the president from turning the so-called “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) into a $2 trillion personal slush fund.