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Trump's Corruption Looms Icahn-ic

Carl Icahn named special adviser on reugulatory reform. Creation Date Thursday, 22 December 2016. Hits 556

Trump's Corruption Looms Icahn-ic
The Icahn of bankruptcy.

I know, I know... Give the guy a chance, right? He's not even in the office yet and here I am criticizing the guy already. Well, consider this my outreach program to Trump supporters. We need the guy to succeed, and there are some pretty troubling things going on with the President-elect. In fairness, I stayed silent on the Coffee with Ivanka fiasco, and I haven't spoken out on the Camouflage and Cufflinks event that his sons seem to be somehow involved in. To me, this is more or less average run-of-the-mill type of behavior that borders on corruption but doesn't clearly cross the line. And to be honest here, if you honestly thought Trump was going to drain the swamp, well... I'll let Gingrich explain that one to you.

I'm told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore. ... I'd written what I thought was a very cute tweet about "the alligators are complaining," and somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff. ...

Even more troubling, perhaps, is Gingrich's suggestion as to how Trump could get around both nepotism laws, and potential conflicts of interests with his children both running the family business and serving in some capacity in the administration.

I think in the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon. I mean, it is a totally open power, and he could simply say look, I want them to be my advisors, I pardon them if anybody finds them to have behaved against the rules, period. And technically under the Constitution he has that level of authority.

All of this while dismissing the notion of draining the swamp as "cute" campaign rhetoric might be a bit troubling to some of his supporters. If you think that is bad, stand by. He has now named Carl Icahn to a special advisory role for issues dealing with reducing regulation. You're going to hear a lot of complaints from the left about putting a billionaire businessman into such a role, but who better to know and understand how regulations effect businesses. It is, however, a little troubling that Icahn will not be required to sell off his assets into a blind trust, meaning he will be advising on regulatory changes that will directly affect his businesses and potentially will have access to insider information on proposed regulatory changes before other businesses do, allowing him the chance to profit handsomely from his role. And speaking of his businesses, what does Carl Icahn own?

Trump Hotels and its successor, Trump Entertainment, filed for bankruptcy in late 2004, then again in early 2009, when Trump finally departed as chairman. The company’s travails weren’t over. It surrendered to chapter 11 a third time in 2014. It’s now a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises, run by The Donald’s now friend, legendary financier Carl Icahn.

Now let's be honest here. The notion that Trump, who formerly bragged about buying off politicians, was going to "drain the swamp" in Washington was never anything more than laughable at best. If you were one of the folks that bought it, than you just weren't paying any attention. These kinds of arrangements being discussed here, however, make people like the Clintons look like model examples of good, wholesome governance. A failure to drain the swamp is one thing, but a wholesale plan to irrigate it is quite another.  

I'm not suggesting that a businessman shouldn't have the ear of the President on matters of business regulation. Quite the opposite, I think one should. Or better yet, a panel of businessmen. Since it is unfair to expect billionaires to sink their assets into blind trusts just so they can occasionally advise the President on regulations, why not create the blind trust on the other end by selecting a diverse panel of businessmen to meet and advise the President on such matters in a singular way, so that the group conclusion might exclude the singular interests of any one of it's members. If, however, that is too much to ask, could we at least make it a businessman who doesn't own a namesake of the President he will be serving? Clean or not, this setup has the smell of corruption all over it.

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Steve Parry

Steve Parry

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