Jason Chaffetz: Trump and Obama administrations are same in terms of transparency

Jason Chaffetz believes the legislative branch has weakened as the executive branch becomes more and more opaque

Published June 19, 2017 5:42PM (EDT)

Jason Chaffetz   (Getty/Mandel Ngan)
Jason Chaffetz (Getty/Mandel Ngan)

Former chairman of the House Oversight Committee Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R.-Utah, said he hasn't seen much change between the Barack Obama's administration and President Donald Trump's administration in terms of transparency. Chaffetz believes the legislative branch of government continues to shrink, as the executive branch's opaqueness grants more unchecked power to the presidency.

During an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting Group that aired over the weekend, Chaffetz said he originally believed that Trump would be adept at tackling government waste, fraud and abuse. "The reality is, sadly, I don't see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration," Chaffetz said.

"I thought there would be this, these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon. In many ways, it's almost worse because we're getting nothing, and that's terribly frustrating and, with all due respect, the attorney general has not changed at all," he added.

Chaffetz, who is leaving the House of Representatives and thus ending his career in Washington at the end of the month, criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well. "I find him [Sessions] to be worse than what I saw with Loretta Lynch in terms of releasing documents and making things available," Chaffetz explained.

When asked what investigations have been stalled, Chaffetz said, "We have everything from the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which is really one of the critical things. There was the investigation into the IRS. And one that was more than seven years old is Fast and Furious."

"I mean, we have been in court trying to pry those documents out of the Department of Justice and still to this day, they will not give us those documents. And at the State Department, nothing. Stone-cold silence," Chaffetz explained. He blames this secrecy on "senior-most" officials.

Chaffetz believes that some Republican leaders are willing to hold the government accountable. "I mean the reality is there aren't very many people that want to play offense. There aren't many people who say, look, we have a duty and an obligation to fulfill the oversight responsibility that was put in place at the very founding of our country," he explained. In Chaffetz's eyes, Congress has "lost its way" and doesn't "stand up for itself."

By Charlie May

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