Democrats want Rep. Jason Chaffetz to investigate Donald Trump's conflicts of interest

The Republican oversight and government reform chairman simply won't treat Trump the same way he did Clinton

By Matthew Rozsa
December 13, 2016 12:22AM (UTC)
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FILE - In this May 24, 2016, file photo, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Forty-one Secret Service employees have been disciplined for reviewing private agency records, including a failed job application of Chaffetz who was leading a congressional probe of the agency. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz — who, as head of the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is really interested in investigating Hillary Clinton — doesn't seem to keen on looking into President-elect Donald Trump's looming conflicts of interest. That's making House Democrats really upset.

"It has now been two weeks since Ranking Member Cummings wrote to you requesting that the Oversight Committee immediately begin reviewing President-elect Donald Trump's financial arrangements in order to identify and protect against conflicts of interest," Democrats said in a letter to the Utah congressman. "Although you have stated publicly that you will hold Mr. Trump to the same standards as President Obama and Secretary Clinton, you have not responded to Ranking Member Cummings' letter, and you have not taken steps to conduct basic oversight of these unprecedented challenges."


The letter later adds, "we ask that the Oversight Committee begin its work as soon as possible."

Democrats drew attention to problems — including Trump not yet liquidating his assets and putting them into a blind trust, the role of Trump's children in advising him on policy even as they continue to run his business empire, his 111 companies doing business in 18 countries (including one, Turkey, in which Trump admitted to having "a little conflict of interest"), and alleged improprieties in meetings with the president-elect and his daughter Ivanka Trump with the prime minister of Japan, a group of Indian business developers, and the president of Argentina.

In November Chaffetz told Politico that Trump was “moving in the right direction. And he needs to instill the confidence that he’s more than arm’s length away." He also added, "The only obligation he has is that under the law. There are public perceptions that I’m sure they’re keenly aware of."


Earlier that month, Chaffetz told The Washington Post that he wanted to continue his investigations into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

“It would be totally remiss of us to dismiss [the email investigation] because she’s not going to be president,” Chaffetz told The Washington Post.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Conflict Of Interest Donald Trump Donald Trump Conflicts Of Interest Elijah Cummings Jason Chaffetz