A 2009 rule created by Obama in his first days in office says that former executives and lobbyists can't be hired to work for the government in a capacity that gives them oversight over their former employers; they must wait for two years after leaving such employment before working in a regulatory capacity that relates to it.
The Trump administration is flouting this legal obligation with its appointees, as well as the weaker federal law that requires a one-year cooling off period. Former Exxonmobil CEO Rex Tillerson is in line to recieve a $180,000,000 bonus from Exxon as a goodbye gift before he takes over the State Department, and that's not all — there's a whole raft of these conflicts in Trump's billionaire cabinet, where there's a fox for every henhouse.
The effects of the executive order would be particularly far reaching in the Trump administration because the new president has given so many government jobs to top corporate executives whose former firms often have business before the federal government. In addition to Tillerson, those include:
Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired general who made nearly $1 million as a board member of Pentagon contractor General Dynamics. Mattis served on the company's board until being appointed by Trump. He recently signed an agreement with federal ethics regulators pledging to avoid General Dynamics' Pentagon related business in his new job — but for only one year.
National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, a Goldman Sachs president whose White House job will position him to influence federal economic policy affecting the bank. Cohn is set to receive a $100 million payout from Goldman Sachs upon leaving the company and entering government service. OGE's website does not list an ethics agreement between Cohn and federal regulators.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired general who has worked for a Homeland Security contractor as well as for private equity and consulting firms. Kelly recently signed an agreement with federal ethics regulators pledging a one-year cooling off period on involving himself in government business related to those companies.
Trump White House Appears To Kill Obama's Ethics Rule: Appointees May Not Be Signing Required Ethics Pledges
[David Sirota/International Business Times]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: alligator in swamp, Linda MacPhee-Cobb, CC-BY)