Banana Republic Watch

Banana Republic Watch

by digby

This is how they do it.
And if Democrats take the House, they will undoubtedly start to hold hearings on these sorts of maneuvers. I don't know if it will make a difference.

At last count, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was the subject of 14 separate government investigations. (A new record!) But that number could soon be zero. That’s because Zinke just fired the Department of the Interior’s acting inspector general.

The news doesn’t stop there. Not only did Mary Kendall, the acting inspector general, not learn she was being replaced until The Hill broke the news this morning, but her replacement will likely be able to fill the role without needing to go through Senate confirmation.

Kendall—who’s served as acting inspector general at the DOI for ten years, and previously spent a decade as deputy inspector general—is being replaced by Suzanne Israel Tufts, a Republican lawyer who worked on the Trump campaign, and then was appointed to the role of assistant secretary of administration at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Tufts will not need to undergo Senate confirmation to fill the new role, as she was already approved by Congress for her job at HUD.

Tufts, who will now handle oversight of the investigations into Zinke, was appointed to HUD to replace an official who blew the whistle on Ben Carson’s taxpayer-funded $31,000 dining set.

If you think that sounds unethical, you’re not alone. “We are particularly worried that she’s a political appointee without any obvious government oversight experience,” Danielle Brian, the executive director of the non-partisan Project on Government Oversight, told NBC. “And they are sliding her in under the radar of any Senate confirmation process to take over charged investigations into the behavior of the cabinet secretary.”

“This reeks of retaliation for the shocking number of investigations into Secretary Zinke’s unethical conduct,” Chris Saeger, the executive director of the Western Values Project, said in a release. “He should immediately explain the reasons why the current inspector general is leaving and if he fails to, Congress should demand answers.”

This is a primary reason why the Democrats need to take back the house. We have seen what happens when you have corrupt extremists in the executive branch with enablers and accomplices running the congress.