Scandal Fatigue

It’s impossible to follow every dirty scheme the party of Trump is involved in. The sheer number of sickening abuses of power is mind-numbing. So you check out, for the sake of your mental health, and focus on not going insane. That is part of Trump’s plan, to emotionally wear out everybody who is not a full-time diehard hater or well-rewarded loyalist. I offer a quick take on one easy to follow scandal:

Story breaks that Louis DeJoy, Trump donor and head of campaign finance for the RNC and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. until his recent appointment as Postmaster General of the UPSS, allegedly pressured his employees to donate to the Republican party and later reimbursed them. This is illegal. Trump is asked by a reporter whether DeJoy should face prosecution. Trump answers, with some cuteness, that if DeJoy did what he’s accused of that maybe he should be investigated.

The president then points out, falsely, that DeJoy was appointed by a bipartisan commission. For the record: the “bipartisan commission” claim is an outright lie, since Trump appointed them all, 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats, ensuring 4-2 votes and Trump “wins” on everything relating to the Postal Service. Google that “bipartisan” claim and you will learn:

Trump also praised DeJoy on Monday and emphasized that the postmaster general was appointed by a “bipartisan commission,” rather than by the president. While DeJoy was appointed by the USPS board of governors—which is made up of four Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom were appointed by Trump—his selection as postmaster general has recently become a source of controversy. DeJoy was initially suggested by USPS board chair Robert Duncan, who holds leadership roles in multiple GOP super PACs, rather than the independent executive search firm hired to find a new postmaster general, Duncan has testified to Congress, and former board member David Williams testified that he resigned from the board partially due to DeJoy’s appointment, believing he was not qualified for the position. 

source

Recalling that Mitch McConnell had blocked numerous Obama appointments, you follow that thread of the story and learn, to nobody’s surprise:

When the President took office three and a half years ago, he inherited an empty Board of Governors. For years, Congress had refused to confirm any of Barack Obama’s nominees to the Board, due to infighting on both sides of the aisle [note Time’s stunning even-handedness in not pinning the refusal to hold confirmation hearings on McConnell — ed] . Trump was therefore handed the opportunity to fill the Board of Governors with a majority of members—many of whom are business executives with ties to the Republican party—who shared his cost-cutting vision.

“I had never heard of anything like it in the U.S. government,” says James Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letter Carriers, of the empty Board of Governors. “It was pretty extraordinary.”

source

Here’s how a fundamentally lawless, unethical man like McConnell makes something like this work (and it’s also been done with federal judgeships and at the Federal Election Commission– which hasn’t had a quorum for years — and other government oversight agencies)

There are nine slots allotted for the USPS Board of Governors. They function in a capacity akin a corporate board of a company, collectively appointing a Postmaster General and Deputy Postmaster General. The board is designed to be bipartisan by nature. While a sitting President appoints members when vacancies arise, no more than five members can be from the same party, and all nominees are subject to Congressional confirmation. Members are also elected to serve for seven year terms, ensuring that their tenure lasts through at least one Presidential administration.

By 2014, there were fewer than six members on the Board of Governors, which meant the body lacked a quorum and was unable to perform key functions. But while Obama nominated seven people to fill those vacancies, according to a 2018 report from the Congressional Research Service, none received a vote in the Senate [note again the restraint of Time in not stating what is also true, and perhaps more to the point: many Obama nominees were never allowed a hearing or vote by McConnell — ed. (1)].

source

No president can appoint more than five of the nine from his own party. Not a problem. Instead of nine, Trump appoints SIX, four from his party, two from the enemy party. Easy. Now he can win every vote 4-2. Nothing to it, if you have no scruples about anything but winning, your party’s as shameless as you are and your top law enforcement officer is a modern day Roy Cohn.

[1] According to the article, Bernie Sanders apparently blocked two nominees who favored privatizing the Postal Service.

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