Happy Hour News Briefs
Amongst all the squid ink that Lord Damp Nut squirted the other day when boldly announced he was gulping down malaria meds to ward-off a virus, the press was distracted from the firing of the State Department IG, and a bonus OTHER big story that is only now coming to light: there was a SECOND inspector general that he You’re Fired’ed:
Trump Just Removed the IG Investigating Elaine Chao. Chao’s Husband, Mitch McConnell, Already Vetted the Replacement.
In yet another assault on checks and balances, President Trump abruptly removed the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) independent watchdog late Friday – the same night he announced plans to fire the State Department Inspector General (IG). At DOT, the acting IG was overseeing a high profile investigation of Secretary Chao’s alleged favoritism benefiting her husband Senator Mitch McConnell’s political prospects, but has now been replaced with a political appointee from within the agency. The acting IG’s ouster calls into question the future of the Chao-McConnell investigation, other critical oversight, and whether the watchdog was dismissed for unearthing damaging information.
It’s hardly a surprise that Elain Chao, a warmed-over reject from Saint Ronnie AND Poppy Bush (within the Department of Transportation), then on to Chimpy McStagger’s Reign of Error (as Secretary of Labor), would find her way to the 4th Reich as the Secretary of Transportation, nor that she would be as crooked as her very crooked husband, amply be-chinned #MoscowMitch; no, what is unusual is that Lord Damp Nut would go out of his way to protect a fellow grifter that so far has not given him the cream off the top as a finder’s fee or honorarium. Manners, Elaine, manners!
Anyway, what happened?
This move is the latest salvo of Trump’s assault on oversight. And it looks like the President made sure to cover all his bases to block accountability, not only nominating an IG to succeed the experienced watchdog who held the post, but also demoting the acting IG who was investigating Chao, and installing a political appointee to serve in his place while the Senate considers a permanent replacement. To make matters worse, Trump’s pick to be the new acting IG, Howard “Skip” Elliott, already has a job overseeing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an office he will now also be in charge of policing.
Trump’s decision to sideline DOT acting IG Mitch Behm (who has 17 years of experience with OIG) was lost in the shuffle of outrage following the announcement that Trump planned to fire the State Department IG, but potential conflicts of interest abound. The most high profile is the DOT OIG’s review of allegations that Secretary Chao gave Senator McConnell’s constituents special treatment and helped steermillions of federal dollars to Kentucky as he is facing low approval ratings and a tough reelection bid.
The latest salvo in President Donald Trump’s continuing purge of the federal government’s inspectors general (IG) could have unintended consequences for one of the most powerful members of the Republican party and a key presidential ally. House Democrats this week said they plan to open an investigation into whether the ouster of acting Department of Transportation (DOT) IG Mitch Behm on Tuesday was politically motivated. At the time of his termination, Behm was investigating whether the Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao gave preferential treatment to her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), and his home state of Kentucky.
The Democratic chairs of the House Committees on Oversight and Transportation penned letters to Chao and newly installed acting DOT IG Howard “Skip” Elliot on Tuesday, stating their opposition to Behm’s removal and calling for his immediate reinstatement. According to Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Carolyn Maloney of New York; and Gerald Connolly of Virginia, the move appeared to be a motivated by a desire to end to the investigations into Chao.
I’m still having a hard time believing that Prznint Mob Boss would stick his wattles out for anyone else without there being something in it for him. He demands loyalty from others, but it is a one-way street. I dunno what it is, but there are nothing but conflicts of interest all the way down with Elaine Chao, who’s family’s business (the Foremost Group, which is a major shipping corporation) would be one she regulates (and who gave the McConnells “a gift” in the 10s of millions of Ameros), to Chao awarding the Kentucky District of her amply be-chinned husband, to Mitch giving Comrade Stupid every win he could in the Senate, including not removing him from office.
It could be professional courtesy, but LDN has never done that before. I’m guessing something else was going on, but we don’t know what. Yet.