Tuesday, July 11, 2017
About that fox guarding the hen house
DON'T LET THE FOX GUARD THE HENHOUSE - "Don't assign a job to someone who will then be in a position to exploit it for his own ends. Said to one who entrusts his money to sharpers. The proverb has been traced back to 'Contre-League' and is similar to the Latin: 'Ovem lupo commitere' ('To set a wolf to guard sheep.') First attested in the United States in 'Poet's Proverbs' . The proverb is found in varying forms: Don't put the fox to guard the chicken house; Don't let the fox guard the chicken coop; Don't set a wolf to watch the sheep; It's a case of the proverbial fox guarding the chickens, etc.This bit of wisdom has been known for centuries and yet the United States has chosen to put the foxes in charge of our national hen houses. Donald Trump is mostly acting on the advice of others because he lacks the intelligence and experience to personally know anything about regulations.That being said his appointees do know what they want to trash, for fun and profit, mostly profit.
President Trump entered office pledging to cut red tape, and within weeks, he ordered his administration to assemble teams to aggressively scale back government regulations.They know full well the damage they are doing but the lure of increased profit from stealing from customers, fouling the air and water and generally acting without a care for the communities they work in, is too much to resist. And since conflict-of-interest no longer exists in the Trump administration, those charged with dismantling government protections are feathering their own nests, as well.
But the effort — a signature theme in Mr. Trump’s populist campaign for the White House — is being conducted in large part out of public view and often by political appointees with deep industry ties and potential conflicts.
Most government agencies have declined to disclose information about their deregulation teams. But The New York Times and ProPublica identified 71 appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts, through interviews, public records and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Some appointees are reviewing rules their previous employers sought to weaken or kill, and at least two may be positioned to profit if certain regulations are undone.
The appointees include lawyers who have represented businesses in cases against government regulators, staff members of political dark money groups, employees of industry-funded organizations opposed to environmental rules and at least three people who were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.
At the Education Department alone, two members of the deregulation team were most recently employed by pro-charter advocacy groups or operators, and one appointee was an executive handling regulatory issues at a for-profit college operator.
So far, the process has been scattershot. Some agencies have been soliciting public feedback, while others refuse even to disclose who is in charge of the review. In many cases, responses to public records requests have been denied, delayed or severely redacted.
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