Washington—The first 100 days of the Trump administration brought conflicts of interest and ethical and legal problems on a massive scale not seen since at least President Nixon—and perhaps ever, according to a new report just released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The report, which analyzes the ethical failings of both the president and his staff, finds that the major problems stem from President Trump’s refusal to divest himself from his business empire, which created a vast web of legal and ethical problems and set the tone for the entire administration.
“President Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp,’ but instead the first 100 days of his administration have illustrated the catastrophic consequences when a president fails to prioritize ethics when entering public service,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “This failure of leadership resounds through the administration and the government as a whole, and ultimately harms our democracy and the interests of the American people.”
In addition to the president, the report looks at Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, EPA chief Scott Pruitt, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, HHS head Tom Price, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as senior White House staff and family members, including the president’s children.
“President Trump has established a record that no one would want to hold: the most unethical first 100 days since we started counting eight decades ago,” CREW Board Chair Norman Eisen said. “From his own unresolved and unconstitutional conflicts, to the deplorable ethics of his cabinet and White House staff, to his denial of transparency for his taxes and for his White House visitor records, the Trump Administration is a disgrace. It is no wonder that Trump is already facing a major investigation and the lowest popularity rating of any president at this point. Unless he straightens up and flies right it will only go further downhill from here.”
The report coincides with the launch of CREW’s interactive timeline of instances in which the government and special interests have interacted with President Trump’s private business interests since he took office.
“President Trump in his first 100 days in office has not accomplished much of what he set out to accomplish and conflicts of interest are an important reason why. Conflicts of interest involving Russia are probably his most serious problem and continue to undermine his foreign policy,” CREW Board Vice-Chair Richard Painter said. “His former national security advisor Michael Flynn may be indicted for lying about illegal emoluments he received from Russia, Attorney General Sessions was almost forced to resign because he did not tell the Senate the truth about his own contacts with Russia, and the President refuses to disclose his tax returns or other records that could indicate whether or not he is financially dependent upon Russia.”
“And the Russia problem is only the beginning of this Administration’s problems with conflicts of interest,” Painter continued. “We hope that the President will recognize the need for change and that the next 100 days will take us in a much more transparent and productive direction.”