Boston Globe: Republicans are not just attached to Trump — they’re his customers, too
There are at least 230 wineries in the state of Virginia, but when a campaign arm of House Republicans recently chose one to host the winners of a fund-raising contest, it was the vineyard in Charlottesville owned by President Trump and operated by his family.
“We’ll take care of the hotel, flight, and send you to an exclusive Mother’s Day brunch for you and your family!” a description of the Mother’s Day prize package reads, noting that the retail value runs close to $2,850.
“It’s the selling of the presidency to an extent which we’ve never seen before. We’ve made the presidency a marketing tool and a political party is joining in this effort,’’ said Larry Noble, a former general counsel of the Federal Elections Commission who currently is senior director at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, a Washington ethics watchdog. “I don’t remember another situation like this.’’
Such examples are part of what forced Walter Shaub to resign last July as director of the US Office of Government Ethics. He has since emerged as one of the White House’s harshest critics on Twitter, particularly when it comes to ethical dilemmas.
“In what universe is this gigantic Trump conflict of interest and potential national security risk even a little bit ok? Spoiler alert: None,” he tweeted last week, in response to a Forbes report that said The Trump Organization made more than $125 million from commercial tenants last year.
“This metastasized conflicts of interest cancer started spreading the moment Trump refused to divest his conflicts of interest. I warned before his inauguration that the rot at the top would spread,” Shaub tweeted another time.
But the challenge facing Shaub, Painter, and other ethics lawyers is one of enforcement.