According to an investigative report by ProPublica and The New York Times, Trump’s deregulation teams are filled with political appointees and undercover industry lobbyists.
DOT’s Political Appointees
For instance, one appointee working for American Airlines lobbied the Transportation Department American Airlines on its behalf. Another staff member was hired by hybrid and electric car makers, which the agency must regulate. A third employee was an attorney that worked for United Airlines.
The trio was unveiled by the two news organizations as the Trump administration has huge transparency deficiencies when it comes to deregulation. The media report has also found a pattern. Trump’s Cabinet filled the deregulation positions with political appointees that now lobby federal agencies on behalf of entities and businesses that want their rules to be killed or weakened.
The journalistic investigation was very difficult since many departments refused to identify the appointees.
Congress Calls for Transparency
Top Democratic lawmakers in Congress are concerned about the lack of transparency in regulatory matters. Several lawmakers wrote a letter to the White House, demanding a list with the names of regulatory team members and any evidence that they may be involved with the industries they are hired to deregulate.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings noted that the Trump administration’s conduct is “unacceptable” especially when the teams could be rolling back key safety and health protections.
The report, which the congressmen also cited in their letter, revealed that the political appointees either work for occult money groups, the businesses interested in deregulation, or industry-backed non-profits that want to dismantle EPA rules.
Meanwhile, the two news outlets found over a dozen other political appointees on Trump’s deregulation teams. Journalists plucked their names from public records, interviews, and insider tips.
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