Sarbanes: How many ways has Trump filled the swamp? About 400, so far

The Sun’s Feb. 28 editorial, “Ben Carson and the Trump lifestyle,” brings deserved attention to the Trump Administration’s pervasive ethical blindness. With each passing day, it seems, there is a new report of how one Trump appointee or another is disregarding the basic norms and guidelines that have always governed public officials.

President Trump campaigned on a promise to “drain the swamp.” Instead, he has deepened it. Trump appointees have turned cabinet positions into personal fiefdoms, using taxpayer dollars to fly first class, commission trips on private jets, boost personal security details and spend lavishly on high-end office furniture — to name only a few egregious examples. Throughout the government, the Trump administration has hired former lobbyists and political insiders who are now rigging the rules to benefit the well-connected at the expense of the public interest. And at the top, President Trump has run roughshod over longstanding ethical norms, pursuing public policy that benefits his family businesses and promotes his worldwide brand.

The House Democracy Reform Task Force has been tracking these conflicts of interest, ethical abuses and special-interest backroom deals within the Trump White House and throughout his administration. In just 400 days of the Trump Presidency, we’ve found more than 400 ways that the president has flooded the swamp.

To make matters worse, the Republican leadership in Congress is missing in action when it comes to proper oversight of the administration. Our founders envisioned that the Congress would act as a check on the executive branch, not acquiesce in it excesses. It’s time to hold this Congress and this administration accountable for their conduct. Americans deserve a better deal for our democracy.

Rep. John Sarbanes, Towson,

The writer, a Democrat, represents Maryland’s Third Congressional District and chairs the Democracy Reform Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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