In yet another unprecedented rejection of historical norms that has tremendous potential to encourage corruption and double-dealing, Senate Republicans are rushing Trump cabinet confirmations so much that the Office of Government Ethics can't keep up. This means that some confirmation hearings might start before nominees have even finished their background checks and ethics disclosures:
In a letter to Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the leader of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Shaub Jr., said on Friday that “the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me.”
He said the packed schedule had put “undue pressure” on the office to rush its reviews of the nominees and he knew of no other occasion in the office’s four decades when the Senate had held a confirmation hearing before the review was completed.
Democrats plan to keep the focus on the president-elect to a degree with few historical parallels. New presidents usually serve as a backdrop; this year, by contrast, Mr. Trump’s words will loom over the hearings as Democrats press the nominees to take a position on them.
Democrats have little chance of blocking any of the nominees, having given up the use of the filibuster in such cases when they were in the majority, but they say Mr. Trump has handed them ample political ammunition.
My hope is that the hearings will at least get a lot of this on the record, even if we can't stop the nominations from succeeding. But the people Trump has nominated seem calculated to do the most damage to the Federal government as nearly all of them have financial interests within the scope of their nominations, or are openly hostile to the departments they'll be running. Get ready for a mind-boggling term of wholesale theft from the American people.