Absolute Peak Corruption


When it comes to corruption, we can all gaslight and engage in ‘whataboutism’ to drown out any critique we don’t like. In every group, in all walks of life if you look deep enough you will find corruption, but there is no drowning out the corrupt administration we are currently living under. This is the most corrupt administration of our lives. This is absolute peak corruption.

Let’s take a short walk down memory lane with the Trump administration from just the last two years.

Betsy Devos

Betsy Devos, the Trump appointed and GOP confirmed Secretary of Education, is a grotesque and corrupt grifter using her position in government to push for self-enrichment.

As Secretary of Education, Devos has pushed to move millions of dollars from ‘Title I’ – a provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education act passed in 1965 to provide funding to schools with a high percentage of students from low income families – to school vouchers for private schools, an idea that disproportionately benefits wealthier Americans. 


In general, school vouchers will do nothing for low-income families. The vouchers will not provide the full cost of tuition for private schools. Low-income families, who are already making decisions on whether to buy groceries or pay for the pharmaceutical drugs they need, will not be able to afford to send their children to schools that will cost any amount of tuition, even if it is reduced by the ‘school voucher'. Instead, they will continue to send their children to public schools. Schools that would be further underfunded by the ‘title I’ cuts. What school vouchers would REALLY do, is provide subsidies to wealthy families, upset at having to fund public schools through property taxes, that already send their kids to high tuition private schools. .

Before becoming Secretary of Education, Betsy spent millions of dollars bribing and lobbying members of the Republican Party to support the school voucher program that she pushes for now as Secretary of Education. For her entire adult life, Betsy Devos, a Michigan billionaire, has been an anti-public education activist and fundamentalist. That last sentence alone, which is inarguable, should have been enough to disqualify her for Secretary of Education, whose role is to support and improve public education, not defund it. Devos’ entire education was spent at private Christian schools. She has never taught in a public school or been a school administrator. She has no experience either as a student or a professional in public schools.

Devos has a complicated web of financial holdings that includes companies that provide services to schools and colleges. Devos also has ties to a debt collection company that collects student loans on behalf of the Education Department. She has deep financial ties to charter schools that will financially benefit from her diverting funds from ‘Title I’ to private charter schools.

Betsy’s shady brother is also top notch grifter. Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater World Wide, is currently waging a PR campaign to convince Trump to turn over the Afghan war to Prince’s private security company. Blackwater was the private military company that employed mercenaries in Iraq that infamously shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians, injured another 20 and consequentially were tried and convicted in US federal court of murder, manslaughter and firearms charges.

Tom Price

Prior to being selected as Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Price bought healthcare stock while in congress. One week later, Tom Price introduced legislation that would have directly benefited that company and his personal financial holdings.


That impropriety obviously wasn’t enough for the GOP led congress to deny Price’s appointment to HHS. Instead Price was forced to resigned a year later after he used nearly $1 million of taxpayer money on chartered flights.

Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt, the Trump appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is probably the most laughable example of just outright and pathetic corruption. The highest ranking official in the EPA used his aides to book hotels on their own personal credit cards, which he later refused to reimburse, pressured them to find a private job for his wife that paid at least $200,000, purchased an old mattress from the Trump International Hotel (yeah, super weird), sent aids to look for moisturizing lotion that is offered by Ritz-Carlton hotels and built a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office. All of this stuff, super illegal and a bit bizarre. 

Getting past all of the personal corruption, the EPA administrator appointed by Donald Trump was a climate change denialist. The one person in charge of the bureau responsible for protecting the environment denied the scientific consensus regarding climate change. So it’s not surprising that under Scott Pruitt’s leadership (and the following EPA administrator and former coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler) the EPA has rescinded and rolled back as many regulations and protections that would protect human beings from the terrible effects of climate change. 

Scott Pruitt’s entire political career was spent as the self-described “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda” and why was he that? Scott Pruitt received major corporate and employee campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies, taking in more than $215,000 between 2010 and 2014 as the Oklahoma Attorney General. 

Gary Cohn

Gary Cohn, Trump’s selection for chief economic adviser, manage to avoid breaking any actual laws during his tenure, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t entirely corrupt. The Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs resigned from his company to take a position in the Trump administration to spend some time giving back to the country that had made him so successful, right?..... Wrong.

On his way out the door from Goldman Sachs, Cohn received an exit package from the company totaling $123 million dollars. When he arrived at the White House to be Trump’s Chief Economic Adviser, he had one goal, to push through a gigantic self-serving tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and especially for firms like his “former” Goldman Sachs. After the passage of the tax bill, Goldman Sachs saved $250 million in the first quarter, an incredible return on investment for Goldman.

Cohn left his position at Goldman to become a ‘public servant’, but he didn’t serve the public. He continued to serve Goldman and himself. After Cohn’s principle goal had been realized, he left his position.

The $123 million Cohn received from Goldman should be considered a pre-payment or a pre-bribe for the work he was about to do in the White House and it is standard practice when big company CEO’s make the move to government. Cohn’s ‘exit package’ from Goldman was dwarfed in the same year by the exit package received by Rex Tillerson. The former CEO received $180 million when he walked out the door of Exxon and into the role of Secretary of State for Donald Trump’s administration.

Steve Mnuchin

The pick of Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary was a smack in the face to every Americans who lost their home and savings in the fall out of the ‘Great Recession.’ The Donald Trump campaign tapped into the anger that many Americans were feeling in post-recession America. He promised, that as president, he would break the connection between Wall Street and the government. Instead, Trump went on to hire a man who helped design the mortgages that not only broke the economy, but also broke millions of families.
Steve Mnuchin made a fortune on illegally foreclosing on thousands of families, skirted law through the use of offshore tax havens and helped design the tactics that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. Mnuchin was an early sign-on to the Trump Presidential campaign and was one of the few corporate executives who was publicly fundraising for Trump. As a result, Mnuchin went on to become the campaign’s national finance chair and of course Treasury Secretary.

Mnuchin made incredible amounts of money beginning in 2008 when he bought a predatory lending company called ‘Indy Mac’. After renaming it to the now infamous ‘OneWest’, Mnuchin began foreclosing on homeowners, often using illegal and nefarious tactics. Mnuchin used a tactic called “servicer-driven defaults.” The tactic increased borrowers adjustable mortgage payments, in some circumstances by three times the original monthly payment, then advised the borrowers that if they skipped two months of payments they would be eligible for a loan modification through a government program. When that loan modification never materialized, Mnuchin and OneWest foreclosed and sold the homes. Throughout this process, OneWest, charged massive fees for appraisals, inspections and late payments that were covered by the FDIC. Throughout this process the taxpayer funded FDIC lost $13 billion on Indy Mac loans while Mnuchin and his company made $3 billion in profits. Steve Mnuchin’s greedy and unethical business practices resulted in millions of Americans being kicked out of their homes and was rewarded with a position that is fifth in the presidential line of succession.

Steve Mnuchin took this position, not to serve in interest of the public, but to do everything in his power to roll back regulations on Wall Street that might curtail the nefarious tactics he used as a banker to get rich.

Mick Mulvaney

Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s selection as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has been a longtime critic of the CFPB.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created through the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in response to the 2007 financial crisis. It was specifically fashioned as an independent agency to safeguard the US from another catastrophe like the ‘Great Recession’ which, as we know, was caused by the unregulated predatory lending practices of large financial institutions. The CFPB was created specifically to protect consumers from those predatory lenders and dangerous financial products. Prior to the 2007 fiscal crisis, predatory lenders could and would con customers into loans or other financial products that had a high probability of sending those customers into financial ruin. They were allowed to sell those dangerous financial products to customers without ever having to disclose the probability that the customer would be ruined. The CFPB put an end to those predatory practices.

As a tea party Republican congressman, Mulvaney called the CFPB a “sick, sad” joke and consponsored legislation for its elimination. Non-coincidentally, Mulvaney received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from payday lenders, the predatory companies the CFPB intended to rein in.

As soon as Mulvaney was hired, he immediately stopped the CFPB from collecting fines and suspended all active investigations. He also cancelled an investigation into a South Carolina payday lender that had previously donated to his campaign. Another one of the lawsuits Mulvaney dropped was one where the CFPB was pursuing an online payday lender that had been found to be charging 950% interest. The list of improprieties goes on and on.

Mulvaney is brazenly corrupt. During a closed-door meeting with bankers and lobbyists, Mulvaney openly bragged of his corrupt practices. “We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress… If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you,” as reported by the New York times.

People in politics aren’t usually so blunt. People are usually in a world where they try to hide corruption. Mulvaney is a man who is so corrupt that it thoroughly pervades everything that he does and everything he thinks about. The fact that he is willing stand up in front of 1,300 people and say that those who don’t pay me get one kind of treatment and those who do pay me, I’ll actually listen to and maybe we’ll do a little work on your behalf is almost unbelievable. He talks like this with impunity because he is part of the most corrupt administration ever.

Wilbur Ross

After declaring at a rally that he didn’t want to hire “poor people” to any important posts in his administration, Donald Trump hired Wilbur Ross as his Secretary of Commerce who would be the richest Secretary of Commerce in history. As of today, we now know Wilbur Ross as not only the richest Secretary of Commerce in history, but as one of the biggest grifters in American history.

When Wilbur Ross became Commerce Secretary he signed agreements, like all public officials, that he would divest the majority of his holdings. In November of last year, he certified in a sworn statement that he had done that when in fact he had not. He held stock for more than a year after he signed those documents promising to divest.

As Secretary of Commerce, Ross was negotiating trade deals in which he had a personal financial stake in the outcome. During negotiations with China, Ross owned several companies whose future depended on the outcome of those trade negotiations. Ross owned a company that was exporting natural gas directly to China along with another shipping company that the Chinese government was also a partner in. A major and obvious conflict of interest. He also owned another company that was exporting steel from South Korea at the same time the Trump administration began instituting steel tariffs, but for some reason they gave South Korea an exemption. Any guesses why?

Ross's impropriety and grifting appears to run deeper than in just his recent foray into the public sphere. A new report came out last month that Wilbur Ross has been accused by associates of his of swindling them out of more than $120 million dollars.

Carl Icahn

Carl Icahn, the president's billionaire friend and vulture capitalist, was Trump’s first choice for Treasury Secretary. He turned down the role, which requires actual work, and took a different position where he could optimize his own self-serving gifting as a “special adviser on regulation”. In just months after his appointment, Icahn was forced to step down from his appointment after attempting to influence biofuel policy, an industry in which an Icahn owned company operates. Icahn made no attempts to separate his business interests from his role as “special adviser” and just coincidentally he advocated for policies that would improve the financial position of companies he owned.

In another case of clear impropriety, Icahn sold $31.3 million worth of shares of Manitowc Co., Inc, a US based crane manufacturing company heavily dependent on imported steel just days before the White house announced it was going to impose tariffs on steel imports. The timing of Icahn's dump and subsequent tanking of the stock saved the savvy investor millions. This dump is incredibly suspicious and stinks of insider trading.

Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn

Do we have to rehash these three men?

Paul Manafort, the man who Trump selected as his 2016 campaign manager, was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and is facing a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison. Besides committing multiple crimes, Paul Manafort was a lobbyist for foreign governments. A sketchy position that any fair minded American should be offended by it’s existence.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime friend and personal attorney (some would call him a bagman) pleaded guilty last week to five counts of tax evasion, one count of falsifying submissions to a bank and two counts involving unlawful campaign contributions.

Michael Flynn (no relation to me), the former national security adviser for Donald Trump, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian Ambassador during the 2016 campaign. Flynn is now cooperating with the ongoing probe of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Honorable Mentions

George Papadopoulos, who worked for Jeff Sessions, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI regarding contacts he had with the Russian government while working for the Trump campaign.

William Bradford, the Trump appointed director of the Department of Energy, had been forced to resign after it came out that he had made racial slur directed at Barack Obama on twitter.

Brenda Fitzgerald, the Trump appointed Director of the Center for Disease Control, was forced to resign after it was revealed that she had bought tobacco stock, the leading cause of preventable death. A clear conflict of interest.

Taylor Weyeneth, the Trump appointed Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was forced to resign when it was discovered that the individual had zero qualifications. Taylor’s only qualification had been that he had worked on the Trump campaign, his first job out of college (LOL).

Rick Gates, Manafort assistant and Trump’s 2016 Deputy Campaign Chairman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and lying to the FBI regarding his lobbying work along with tax and bank fraud.

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This incredibly exhaustive list is appalling and grotesque. Our White House has been completely filled with self-serving grifters and criminals that are using their government positions to steal absurd profits all at the cost of American taxpayers.

I really hope we have reached the bottom of our culture of corporation. I for one can’t imagine how much lower it can go.

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