Ethics experts are alarmed at the drumbeat of revelations about travel, business holdings and investments, warning that public trust and reliable government are at risk. A former ethics official asks: "If the boss doesn't care, why should you, then?"
Most of the 75 ships transport oil and gas products worldwide, presenting a conflict of interest for the commerce secretary as he negotiates trade deals. Records show 11 purchases since March. Ross has come under fire for not disclosing Russia-tied ship business and a U.S. senator wants an investigation.
The agreement with China will increase U.S. exports of liquid natural gas. Navigator Holdings, which could gain from increased drilling, has a business partnership with a Russian-owned firm and is partially owned by Ross via an offshore investment fund. For deal-maker Wendy Teramoto — Ross' chief of staff and Navigator board member at the time — it raises a conflict of interest.
With private money at a record level and projects ready to go, the president decides the partnerships are "more trouble than they're worth," leaving states to make their own deals with investors and to hope for federal funding.
After she was confirmed, the transportation secretary resigned from the board of Vulcan Materials but held on to deferred stock awards worth $300,000, an amount that could grow if Chao helps push an infrastructure bill through Congress.
Rural America, which supported Trump in the election, could be left out of water and road building investment as states and the president leverage private investment. Trump's plan offers little detail on federal spending and timing. Adding to the uncertainty, a presidential adviser has indicated that states should help themselves.
States, unions, campaign advisers and consultants flood the White House with proposals. The president’s pledge to cut regulations and his condition for funding – “If you have a job that you can’t start within 90 days ... it doesn’t help us” – risks leaving critical construction and repair behind.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a final report on the connection between hydraulic fracturing and contamination in drinking water. After stressing in June 2015 that there was no "widespread, systematic impact" on water, the agency now is emphasizing that fracking can affect drinking water under some circumstances.