Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman on Rep. Tom Price's questionable investments; Plus: Much more nominee oversight as the blizzard of Senate confirmation hearings continue...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2017, 6:08pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, on the last full day of the Obama Presidency, we continue to try and keep our eye on U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Donald Trump cabinet nominees and the extraordinary conflicts of interest almost every one of them seem to have. [Audio link to show posted below.]

Contentious hearings continued today in the U.S. Senate with Treasury Secretary nominee and billionaire former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin facing tough questions from Democrats (and even some Republicans) over allegations of fraud and "widespread misconduct" against him and his bank, OneWest, during the Great Foreclosure Crisis. Also today, during his own confirmation hearing, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Trump's pick to head the Department of Energy, conceded that he was wrong for calling for the agency to be shut down when he was a GOP Presidential candidate. And, while it's being reported that he had no idea what the DoE actually did when he accepted the offer to head the federal agency that oversees the nation's nuclear program (Perry is said to have previously understood them to be in charge of oil and gas production), he also appears to be changing his mind about the threat of climate change after speaking with some actual scientists as he studies up on his new job.

Then we're joined by Craig Holman who, as Public Citizen's Government Affairs watchdog, recently sent letters to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), seeking an official probe into purchases of health care company stocks made by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Trump's nominee to head Health and Human Services, at the same time the Congressman (and Rep. Chris Collins of NY, who also participated in the questionable investments) were working on legislation that may have been designed to help the very same companies.

Holman also shares a new, previously unreported observation about an ethics provision enacted by President Obama on his first day of office, requiring all Administration personnel to sign a pledge recusing themselves from taking any actions that might affect their former employers or clients. But that order, which Holman credits for keeping the Obama Administration so scandal free, is now apparently being ignored by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) in their vetting processes for incoming Administration officials.

"I have run over all the OGE ethics reviews of all the new Trump nominees," Holman tells me, "and it isn't mentioned. It just vanished, as if it doesn't exist. It's still an ethics order with the authority of law. Trump hasn't gone into the White House yet to repeal it, but somehow he's convinced the Office of Government Ethics just to look the other way."

More details from Holman today on that and on Price's questionable --- and perhaps even, criminal --- investments, and which government agency, if any, might actually be able to bring some accountability for them.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with more on the flood of Senate confirmation hearings for Trump's team of climate science deniers --- and one last gift President Obama left for the planet on his way out the door...


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