Photo by Julie Ostler
Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has a lot on his plate lately, considering all of the accusations being flung from both sides of the aisle, but he doesn’t want anything to do with it.
Did the Russians interfere with the presidential election? Chaffetz doesn’t seem to care.
President Donald Trump owns the lease to Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. The hotel is in the Old Post Office Building, which is owned by the government. The lease agreement stipulates that an elected federal official cannot profit from the lease. This raises concerns about a presidential conflict of interest. The lease is renegotiated each year by a man whose boss is a presidential appointee. Chaffetz doesn’t seem to mind.
Kellyanne Conway endorsed Ivanka Trump’s clothing line while appearing in her official capacity as a counselor to the president on Fox & Friends. It was a clear violation of federal law, which prohibits a public official from using their office for gain. The Ethics Law states in part that a federal employee should avoid situations where “the employee believes his or her impartiality may be subject to question.” Chaffetz claims there was no legal footing to investigate complaints made over the incident.
Chaffetz stood by until Democrats demanded a hearing on the failed raid in Yemen that was approved by President Trump. Trump authorized the raid, which resulted in the death of civilians and one Navy SEAL, over dinner. The same raid that the Obama administration mulled over for months until deciding not to go through with it.
Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor, resigned after it was revealed that he misled Vice President Pence and had inappropriate communication with Russian intelligence officials. This was right around the time Russia was accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee in an attempt to disrupt the presidential election. The revelation prompted speculation whether Trump himself was aware of these conversations and colluded with Russia in some fashion. However, Chaffetz is more concerned with how knowledge of the conversation was leaked to the press.
Chaffetz clearly has the availability to look into the most pertinent issues facing the nation, such as investigating the cartoon character Sid the Science Kid. He sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control demanding to see the communication between the makers of the show and PBS.
The Chairman’s role in the Oversight Committee is to guide fact-obtaining efforts and work to investigate and expose fraud, waste and abuse. If Chaffetz feels that Trump’s business conflicts aren’t covered under federal law, he should work to create more adequate laws ensuring no conflicts of interest. As he continues to ignore glaring issues, it’s time Chaffetz reexamine his purpose.
Perhaps the people of Utah County can find something worthy of his jurisdiction to open an investigation. Some suggestions would be:
Why did the UVU basketball team have trouble winning tight ball games down the stretch?
How did Utah County become the soda shop capital of the world?
Why don’t the vending machines on UVU’s campus offer original Flamin’ Hot Cheetos?