Shocking but predictable development: Newly released documents show what appears to be fairly conclusive evidence of a criminal conflict of interest violation by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, as well as what looks like a cover-up by government officials. /1
Background: In June, Forbes’s @DanAlexander21 forced acting Office of Government Ethics Director David Apol to release a disclosure by Wilbur Ross that Apol had failed to release online for 6 months. The reason for delay was clear: The disclosure showed violations by Ross. /2
In July, Apol chastised Ross. But Apol’s letter gave Ross cover by claiming his calendars showed “no information indicating any [conflict of interest] violation.” At the time, it seemed like an odd thing to write without having referred the matter to the IG for investigation. /3
In August, @CREWcrew filed a criminal complaint against Ross. /4
That same month, our friends at @CampaignLegal also filed a complaint alleging criminal conflict of interest violations. /5
In addition, @weareoversight sought copies of Ross’ calendars. The Commerce Department fought back and refused to release them, but @weareoversight sued and won release of the calendars. It’s now clear why Commerce resisted. The calendars contain damning information. /6
Forbes says that the calendars show Ross met with Chevron to discuss particular matters affecting the company while he held Chevron stock. In response, Commerce misstates the legal standard. The question now is whether OGE will refer Ross to the IG as it should’ve done before. /7
Forbes says Ross had a similar meeting with Boeing while having an interest in that company. Boeing says the meeting was about particular matters “impacting our business.” That’s the definisition of a conflict of interest violation. /8
This is why those of us who work for good government groups do what we do, and it’s why the free press does what it does. The Truemp administration needs to be taught that public service is a public trust. This land belongs to the people. /9
(Sorry for the typos. I may have to start wearing my glasses when typing. I’m getting old, but there’s still fight left in me — it just may be a poorly spelled fight.)
Here’s more on this madness:
(Thread by @DanAlexander21 )
And then there’s this from @weareoversight. Another concerning item straight out of the calendars that acting Director Apol previously vouched contained “no information indicating such a violation.”
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