Now that environmentally conscious Americans are rejoicing over the resignation of corrupt EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a man who never met a perk he didn’t feel entitled to, Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) is setting sights on the next member of President Trump’s cabinet that he thinks should be subject to Congressional oversight.
Rep. Lieu took to his favored medium of Twitter to bemoan the fact that it took a massive public outcry to force Pruitt’s resignation while the Republican majority in Congress did virtually nothing to exercise their oversight function in relation to the EPA administrator’s multiple transgressions of ethics rules.
We could move faster, but @SpeakerRyan & House Republicans have failed on their oversight responsibilities.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 5, 2018
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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has maintained a lower profile than Pruitt did in the administration, but, particularly as the Trump trade wars scale up, the massive number of conflicts of interest between this billionaire cabinet member’s personal finances and the public interest is attracting increasing attention.
While Secretary Ross promised to divest himself of investments that did pose obvious conflicts of interest with his Commerce Department role, in actuality, since taking office he has maintained investments that have raised significant ethical issues.
His partial ownership stake in Chinese state-owned enterprises, a shipping company tied to Russian oligarchs, a Cypriot bank tied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and an auto parts industry company with a direct stake in the Department of Commerce’s trade policy decisions have all been in diametrical conflict with his executive branch duties.
Ross even managed to profit from the exposure of his own corruption by shorting the stock of the Russian shipping company he was involved with when he found out that a news report about his linkage to the firm was about to be published, according to an article in Forbes magazine,
The Forbes article also accuses the Commerce Secretary of violating the law in at least one instance.
“Ross appears to have broken one law, however: submitting a sworn statement to federal officials in November saying he divested of everything he had promised he would—even though he still held more than $10 million worth of stock in financial firm Invesco, his former employer. He also continued to hold a short position in a bank called Sun Bancorp, a company he had promised to divest. The next month, Ross got rid of interests in both.”
While Ross may have finally divested the conflicted investments, some of the conflicted holdings were simply placed in a trust for his family where they will continue to grow in value.
It appears as if Congressman Lieu has picked the right cabinet member to call for Congress to investigate next. It does beg the question, however, can Education Secretary Betsy DeVos be far behind?
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.