Do you feel like the stories of corruption in the Donald Trump White House are too numerous to count? You’re not alone: Unless you can juggle 20-30 stories at a time, there’s no way you could possibly keep tabs on this group.
You might think people like Betsy DeVos and Ben Carson are unqualified to do the job they went to Washington to do, but nearly all members of the Trump Cabinet have shown expertise in burning through taxpayer money. In some cases, it almost seems like they have contempt for the job and the people they were meant to serve.
Here are the 15 most corrupt acts we’ve seen from the Trump White House, ranked.
15. Scott Pruitt’s $43K privacy box
Many people were outraged upon learning that EPA head Scott Pruitt spent $25,000 on a soundproof box inside his office. It sounded paranoid, wasteful, and stupid all at once.
However, it turned out that $25,000 was a low estimate — it actually cost $43,000 once the final bill was processed. It makes you wonder why he needs to communicate in secret when no one else in the history of the office had that need.
Next: Pruitt’s not the only one wasting money on office items.
14. Ben Carson’ $31K dining set
Speaking of things Trump Cabinet officials don’t need, there was a $31,000 dining table set HUD Secretary Ben Carson had installed in his department offices. When confronted with the amount in February, Carson said he had no knowledge of it and claimed “surprise” at the amount.
Later, when CNN obtained emails proving Carson was lying, it was another black eye for the Trump administration. Meanwhile, Carson’s claim that journalists “will continue to probe and make further accusations even without evidence or substantiation” sounded like utter nonsense.
Next: Nothing says ‘draining the swamp’ like using the White House to advertise handbags.
13. Kellyanne Conway’s pitch for Ivanka products
Does it get more corrupt than using the White House to advertise products sold by the president’s daughter — when the president’s unqualified daughter actually works in the White House?
It’s a funhouse mirror of abusing power and unethical behavior. This bit of corruption was followed by two violations of the Hatch Act by Kellyanne Conway in 2017, but that’s only if you’re keeping score at home. The White House isn’t.
Next: Even Obama-era holdovers felt emboldened with Trump in the White House.
12. The VA Secretary’s European vacation
Nothing says “I’m doing my Veterans’ Affairs job” like accepting tickets to Wimbledon as a gift and flying your wife to Europe on the taxpayers’ dime. VA Secretary David Shulkin did all that and more, running up a bill exceeding $120,000 in summer 2017.
When confronted by a Senate Committee on Capitol Hill, Shulkin said he agreed “the optics” weren’t good. The takeaway would be “unethical behavior is fine as long as the optics are good.”
Next: The Secretary of the Interior does not like the ethics rulebook.
11. Ryan Zinke’s $139K office doors
At Western Values Project, you can read up on all the inside deals Ryan Zinke made in his first year as Secretary of the Interior. Out favorite is Zinke’s first financial supporter landing a National Parks Services contract a short time after the secretary took office and met with his donor. (Quid, meet quo.)
But the story only begins there. Zinke’s lust for helicopter travel and private planes make him one of the more expensive members of Trump’s pricey Cabinet. Plus, he is spending $139,000 on three sets of doors at Interior.
Next: Was anyone surprised about the payoff to a porn star?
10. The $130K payoff to a porn star
Would news of an extramarital affair with a porn star bring down the Trump campaign? America will never know, because Trump paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about the affair right before the election.
When porn star payoffs barely crack the top 10, you get an idea of the state of this administration in 2018.
Next: This Cabinet member was so corrupt he actually resigned.
9. Tom Price’s $1 million in travel expenses
For those who thought a few hundred thousand dollars extra in plane travel was peanuts, we present Tom Price. Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services once bought stock in a company before writing a bill to benefit the same company. (He tripled his money.)
Later, when he took his corrupt ways inside the White House, he focused on luxury private travel, costing taxpayers over $1 million in six months before his resignation.
Next: Foreign leaders, elected officials, and candidates for office are paying the president in plain sight.
8. Foreign visitors and GOP fundraising at Trump hotels
What if every visitor from every foreign government had the chance to put money in the president’s pocket every night? That’s what happens when people stay at Trump’s D.C. hotel, which before 2017 was off-limits for anyone holding office in the U.S. government.
It’s also what happens when U.S. politicians and candidates hold fundraisers in Mar-a-Lago. Later, when asking for a favor or endorsement, all Trump has to do is ask whether the person went to his hotels and how much they spent.
Next: Pruitt isn’t far away from selling parts of the Atlantic Ocean to oil companies.
7. Pruitt’s $833K on security and ‘side jobs’ for EPA aides
When you spend most of your professional life suing the EPA, it must be strange to find yourself in charge of the same agency. To rationalize the shift, Pruitt has continued trying to undermine the agency at every chance.
For example, he spent $833,000 on security in his first three months on the job — about double what his predecessors did.
Meanwhile, two of Pruitt’s lieutenants recently got cleared to work for public companies while holding their day job at the EPA. Unfortunately, the public won’t know which companies get that privilege, but why would a “GOP political consultant” working for Pruitt do anything unethical?
Next: Lying from the bully pulpit corrupts absolutely.
6. Trump’s 2,400 lies — and counting
Trump said he would be the “jobs president,” and there’s no question he’s giving the fact-checking industry a major bump. Between the start of his presidency (January 2017) and March 2018, Trump had already told 2,436 lies.
We don’t feel any need to elaborate here. When the president abandons the truth to gain whatever advantage he can (about firing the FBI Director, the FBI Deputy Director, Special Counsel Mueller, etc.), it sinks the country to the level of a banana republic.
Next: America’s Treasury Secretary has expensive taste in jet planes.
5. Steve Mnuchin’s $1 million on travel
Though he tried to get a military jet for his honeymoon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was denied use of the plane. However, that was one of the few times. A Politico report from March 2018 revealed Mnuchin’s private jet travel (eight trips) cost $1 million in taxpayer funds.
The best part about Mnuchin’s travel is the shamelessness of it. After arguing with reporters about the costs, Treasury staff said he would be taking another military jet to Argentina in the third week of March. Based on military flight estimates of $25,000 per hour, that trip will exceed $300,000 each way.
Next: When a president forces the Secret Service to pay him while on vacation, it comes full-circle.
4. Trump’s golf trips to his own resorts
There are thousands of beautiful golf clubs in America. Isn’t it strange that Trump only goes to the ones he owns? When you think about it, it’s normal for someone who spends every day of his presidency profiting off his position.
For example, when Trump visits his own resorts, Secret Service agents have to pay his company thousands to rent golf carts in order to protect him. If Trump picked another golf course, they’d still have to pay for golf carts — the only difference is, he wouldn’t personally profit off the rentals.
Meanwhile, taxpayers have to foot the bill — currently near $60 million over 14 months — to take Trump and his family from the White House to Florida.
Next: Nepotism, meet massive debts and access to national secrets.
3. Jared Kushner’s failed background check and massive debts
Most of America didn’t have any idea who Jared Kushner was before he ended up in the White House. There’s a good reason for that: Kushner is neither an elected official nor a talented businessman. His only qualification was marrying Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
That would explain why Kushner couldn’t get a top security clearance after a full year in the White House. However, it doesn’t explain why he has access to sensitive materials in the presidential daily briefing, which he often read to Trump.
Next: Maybe someone secretly working for Russia and Turkey shouldn’t have access to classified information.
2. Michael Flynn, Trump’s NSA, getting paid by Russia and Turkey
While many have been corrupt, a select few of Trump’s team pushed it into treasonous territory. That’s where Michael Flynn, who was on the payroll of both Russia and Turkey while dealing with Trump, went in late 2016.
Flynn may have betrayed his country of birth (i.e., America) by telling the Russian ambassador he’d work on getting sanctions lightened or dropped. Hey, when you take Putin’s money, you have to fulfill your end of the bargain, or you might end up among the many who died from poisoning.
Next: Lobbyists lined up at Trump properties for all of 2017 in order to get this law passed.
1. The GOP tax plan
For a while, Wall Street bankers like Jamie Dimon and Gary Cohn held their noses and pretended things in the White House were normal. It was all about the GOP tax plan, which is becoming known as the biggest looting in Washington D.C. history. Once they got their money, the Wall St. gang couldn’t run away fast enough.
Whether you count the billions corporations and the world’s richest men got — or just the tens of millions going to Trump, Senator Bob Corker, and others — this corrupt act will haunt America for generations. (The layoffs have already begun.)
How did every U.S. corporation get a fat 40% tax cut while millions of Americans saw their taxes go up? Lobbyists went wild all across D.C. in 2017, and their money spread from Paul Ryan’s office through the Trump Cabinet.
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