The top US ethics watchdog is investigating Trump for dining with oil bosses

A prominent watchdog organization, which has played a leading role in holding Donald Trump responsible for constitutional violations, is currently examining whether legal action should be taken regarding his meeting with oil company executives at Mar-a-Lago last month.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is currently investigating the dinner held at Trump’s club, where over 20 executives from oil and gas companies were in attendance. According to the Washington Post, during the dinner, Trump explicitly requested a $1 billion donation for his presidential campaign. Interestingly, he also made promises to overturn Joe Biden’s regulations pertaining to natural gas export permits, oil drilling, and car pollution. This development has caught the attention of CREW, who are now looking into the matter further.

House Democrats have initiated an investigation into alleged offers made by former President Trump to oil executives.

According to Virginia Canter, Crew’s chief ethics counsel, the group’s lawyers are currently investigating a matter of significant concern. Canter stated that they are closely examining whether Trump’s fundraising request of $1 billion from oil executives would warrant further action.

According to Canter, the discussion between the former president and the oil companies raised concerns due to the specific focus on a particular industry. The mention of a $1 billion amount being described as a “deal” also raises questions about the transactional nature of the meeting.

In a significant development, the investigation into Crew’s activities has come to light, coinciding with the announcement of a separate inquiry by House Democrats regarding the Mar-a-Lago dinner. The House oversight committee has taken action by sending letters to nine oil executives, urging them to provide comprehensive information about their companies’ involvement in the event.

Read More:  The Biden campaign has exceeded Trump campaign in the state of Washington

Sheldon Whitehouse, the senator from Rhode Island who chairs the Senate budget committee, is currently contemplating an investigation. In a statement to the Guardian, he expressed his concerns regarding Trump’s reported promise to dismantle fossil-fuel restrictions on the first day of a potential second term, along with the solicitation of campaign funds. According to Whitehouse, this combination amounts to a clear and blatant quid pro quo offer.

Whitehouse expressed his view that the situation was essentially encouraging inquiries about the political corruption and manipulation by big oil. He further mentioned that his budget committee is currently examining ways to prevent the industry from easily influencing politicians and burdening taxpayers with the costs.

Crew has a strong history of taking Trump and his close associates to court and ethics bodies. The group recently tried to remove Trump from the presidential ballot in Colorado, arguing that he violated the 14th amendment’s sanctions on those involved in insurrection. However, the US Supreme Court blocked this move.

On his first day in the White House in 2017, Trump was sued by Crew for violating the emoluments clauses of the US constitution. These clauses prohibit federal officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign states. The lawsuit stemmed from Trump’s refusal to divest his business interests. Interestingly, the case remained unresolved until the end of his presidency.

More than a dozen officials in the Trump administration faced reprimands due to crew ethics complaints.

According to the bribery statute, 18 USC 201(b), public officials cannot accept or request anything valuable in exchange for performing an official duty. Presidential candidates, on the other hand, are permitted to seek campaign donations within the bounds of campaign finance regulations. They are also allowed to communicate their policy goals to companies that may stand to gain from them.

Read More:  6 Alaska Cannabis Laws You Must Know

Once in office, politicians are prohibited from directly requesting monetary compensation for performing beneficial acts.

According to Professor Deborah Hellman from the University of Virginia law school, in order for the bribery statute to be applicable, there would need to be proof that Trump made a promise to dismantle regulations in return for donations. She explains that if Trump were to say, “I’m doing it because you’re giving me money,” it would constitute a quid pro quo. However, if he were to say, “I’m going to do it, so you should want me to get elected,” it would not meet the criteria for bribery.

In addition to examining Trump’s actions, there is also scrutiny being placed on fossil fuel companies in relation to the Mar-a-Lago meeting. Recently, Politico revealed that the US oil industry is taking measures to prepare for a potential second term for Trump. They are reportedly drafting executive orders for him to sign.

The orders would enable offshore oil drilling and enhance natural gas exports.

According to data compiled by the non-profit watchdog OpenSecrets, the fossil fuel industry has already contributed $7.3 million to Trump’s campaign and groups supporting his candidacy this election cycle.

Read More:

Leave a Comment