Paychecks for All the President’s Men: This Week in Trumpland Corruption
From giving PPP dollars to companies with White House ties to more Sharpiegate drama, this was yet another standout week
Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.
The White House’s Personal Paycheck Program
Federal data released this week showed that businesses with ties to the Trump family stand to get $21 million in federal aid through the Paycheck Protection Program, which grants funds to businesses to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs. Among the beneficiaries: Princeton Forrestal LLC, a Kushner Cos. real estate company, was awarded a loan between $1 million and $2 million; and Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, a law firm that represented Trump for over a decade before his presidency, received between $5 million and $10 million.
- Corrupt-o-meter (out of a possible 5 emojis): 💰💰💰💰💸
It’s Who You Know
It’s not just the Trump family reaping the PPP windfall: Twenty-seven clients of lobbyists with ties to the Trump administration have received over $10.5 billion in federal Covid aid.
- Corrupt-o-meter: 💰💰💰💸
More Sharpiegate Shenanigans
The Commerce Department has “thwarted” the release of an investigation into whether it pressured a top NOAA official into supporting President Trump’s (very wrong) claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama, according to a memo from the department’s inspector general.
- Corrupt-o-meter: 🖊
The Big Short
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit government watchdog, has accused Vice President Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short of taking part in three meetings with companies he owned stock in and which were directly affected by the government’s pandemic response.
- Corrupt-o-meter: 📈
Seeking Vindication for Vindman
Senator Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, vowed to block Senate approvals of over 1,100 senior U.S. Armed Forces promotions until Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed to her in writing that he wouldn’t tamper with the expected promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified before Congress as a witness in Trump’s impeachment hearings. Duckworth is still waiting on Esper’s assurance.
- Corrupt-o-meter: ⚖️⚖️
Pence’s Private Legal Fund
Nearly half a million dollars of Vice President Pence’s legal fees related to the Russia investigation were covered by a fund whose private donors include executives at companies with federal government contracts.
- Corrupt-o-meter:💰 ⚖️