All Things Trump Conflicts of Interest Thread

justthefacts

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justthefacts

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http://nymag.com/daily/intelligence...rruption-stories-from-the-last-day-alone.html

Also today, the Washington Post reports that Health and Human Services Secretary Ben Carson’s son, Ben Carson Jr., participated in his father’s work in ways that may have benefited his son’s businesses. The scandal would come as no surprise if you had read Alec MacGillis’s report on HUD from last August. MacGillis found Carson Jr. constantly hanging around and networking HUD projects in ways that implied some relation to his own businesses. And sure enough, HUD staffers privately expressed concern that he was inviting clients or potential clients to HUD events and “gave the appearance that the Secretary may be using his position for his son’s private gain.”

A report yesterday found that Trump’s infrastructure council is filled with business owners who stand to benefit from the policies Trump is advancing. For instance, Richard LeFrak, one of the developers on Trump’s council, has lobbied against flood-risk regulations that Trump has eliminated. The plan writ large would steer public funding toward privately owned infrastructure projects that would benefit the developers on Trump’s committee, as well as potentially members of his own family.

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach Post reports that Trump Realty is expanding its operations in southern Florida. The ongoing business by Trump’s business empire is a massive corruption risk, as Trump and his family can benefit from the publicity conferred by his public office, and stand to benefit by anybody who wants to curry favor throwing business their way. The whole problem has faded into the background to the degree that revelations that once would have counted as first-tier presidential scandals — Jimmy Carter was forced to sell his peanut farm to avoid having any pro-peanut bias affect his policies — have disappeared. One of Trump Realty’s agents tells the Post that she “is confident the recent tax law will further spur relocations from high-tax states in the Northeast to South Florida.” This was not an exposé of a reporter discovering that Trump stands to benefit from his tax law. It was a casual boast by the business’s manager to a journalist.
 

howeda7

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I'm shocked that a man and family of such self-proclaimed Christian faith would be involved in a scandal.

Drain the Swamp! I would have put Sleepy Ben pretty low on the list to be a shameless grifter.
 

justthefacts

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how is that a conflict of interest?

'Such an investment is obviously at odds with the mission of the CDC, considering cigarette smoking will result in the deaths of nearly half a million Americans this year. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

The CDC's slogan is "24/7: Saving Lives, Protecting People." But Fitzgerald bet against that mission just one month into her tenure at the agency, when she purchased stock in a tobacco company -- one of the very drugs she is supposed to be leading the crusade against.'
 

bottlebass

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how is that a conflict of interest?

I kind of agree with you here. The only way I could see it being a conflict of interest is if she wasn't doing her job to her fullest and in turn profiting off her investments because of that. Was that happening? She would have to sabotage the whole CDC which is doubtful she could do that.
 

Section2

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I kind of agree with you here. The only way I could see it being a conflict of interest is if she wasn't doing her job to her fullest and in turn profiting off her investments because of that. Was that happening? She would have to sabotage the whole CDC which is doubtful she could do that.

Yeah, I mean it could be, and it could not be. Most rich people have little direction over their stock portfolios, other than overall risk and return. Bad optics no doubt, but on its face not necessarily a conflict of interest.
 

bottlebass

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Yeah, I mean it could be, and it could not be. Most rich people have little direction over their stock portfolios, other than overall risk and return. Bad optics no doubt, but on its face not necessarily a conflict of interest.

Yeah as far as I'm concerned this is a "shoulder shrug and move on" type of scenario.
 

dpodoll68

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I didn't read far enough into the article. I didn't realize the purpose of the CDC was to lead a crusade against smoking.

Lung cancer, COPD, stroke, emphysema, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and cataracts, among many other diseases, are caused by or exacerbated by smoking. But I guess diseases aren't within the purview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 

Section2

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Lung cancer, COPD, stroke, emphysema, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and cataracts, among many other diseases, are caused by or exacerbated by smoking. But I guess diseases aren't within the purview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If people freely choose to smoke, knowing the risks, and the CDC has provided the public with accurate information, which they have, then I don't see that the CDC has any further role. Leading a crusade against tobacco companies or smoking doesn't seem to be their lane, at least to me.
 

howeda7

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Yeah, I mean it could be, and it could not be. Most rich people have little direction over their stock portfolios, other than overall risk and return. Bad optics no doubt, but on its face not necessarily a conflict of interest.

It would broadly be a conflict of interest for the director of the CDC to invest in any healthcare related stock while in the position. Whether this qualifies is probably a gray area. What if she planned to short it? She could certainly do things to make tobacco stocks fall.
 

dpodoll68

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If people freely choose to smoke, knowing the risks, and the CDC has provided the public with accurate information, which they have, then I don't see that the CDC has any further role. Leading a crusade against tobacco companies or smoking doesn't seem to be their lane, at least to me.

Doing everything they can to decrease (ideally eliminate) smoking and consumption of tobacco would dramatically decrease the incidence of disease in this country. The elimination of all tobacco companies in the U.S. would be a huge feather in the cap of the CDC. Conversely, tobacco companies getting bigger and stronger, enjoying record profits, would greatly increase Dr. Fitzgerald's net worth - assuming that she's in a long position. I mean, it's basically textbook conflict of interest.
 

bottlebass

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Doing everything they can to decrease (ideally eliminate) smoking and consumption of tobacco would dramatically decrease the incidence of disease in this country. The elimination of all tobacco companies in the U.S. would be a huge feather in the cap of the CDC. Conversely, tobacco companies getting bigger and stronger, enjoying record profits, would greatly increase Dr. Fitzgerald's net worth - assuming that she's in a long position. I mean, it's basically textbook conflict of interest.

What was Dr. Fitzgerald doing to improve the tobacco company's business?
 

dpodoll68

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What was Dr. Fitzgerald doing to improve the tobacco company's business?

Since when does anybody have to take some specific action to have a conflict of interest? The mere appearance of your own goals conflicting with those of the organization is enough to create a conflict. In my job, I have to sign a REPA (Report of Professional External Activities) every year. This is required for people in my position to help the University to identify and manage potential conflicts of interest. If I refuse to fill it out and sign it, I could be fired. If I lie or omit something, I could be fired. And in these scenarios, I don't actually have any conflicts of interest. Enough circumstantial evidence would lead a reasonable person to believe that I'm probably doing something I'm not supposed to be doing.
 

bottlebass

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Since when does anybody have to take some specific action to have a conflict of interest? The mere appearance of your own goals conflicting with those of the organization is enough to create a conflict. In my job, I have to sign a REPA (Report of Professional External Activities) every year. This is required for people in my position to help the University to identify and manage potential conflicts of interest. If I refuse to fill it out and sign it, I could be fired. If I lie or omit something, I could be fired. And in these scenarios, I don't actually have any conflicts of interest. Enough circumstantial evidence would lead a reasonable person to believe that I'm probably doing something I'm not supposed to be doing.

If you are going to get your panties in a bunch it should be over the pharmaceutical company stocks she bought as she actually has the ability to affect those in a positive manner. Again what did she do to improve the tobacco business? Everything I've read she has an account manager who was purchasing these stocks for her, most likely part of a large portfolio. I'm a pharmacist, I'm sure some of my retirement investments are in pharma companies. What's the big deal?
 

howeda7

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What was Dr. Fitzgerald doing to improve the tobacco company's business?

Would you agree it would be a conflict of interest for her to invest in a company that makes smoking cessation aids? She could rush through any approvals etc. and profit bigly from the increased business. The reverse is more of a stretch, but could still easily qualify.
 

bottlebass

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Would you agree it would be a conflict of interest for her to invest in a company that makes smoking cessation aids? She could rush through any approvals etc. and profit bigly from the increased business. The reverse is more of a stretch, but could still easily qualify.

Sure, if she actually was rushing through approvals. You are correct the reverse is a huge stretch which is why I'm questioning it and said people should be more worried about the pharma investments.
 

howeda7

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Sure, if she actually was rushing through approvals. You are correct the reverse is a huge stretch which is why I'm questioning it and said people should be more worried about the pharma investments.

Someone in her position should simply avoid any investments that are remotely related to healthcare. It's not that hard or an unreasonable standard.
 

bottlebass

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Someone in her position should simply avoid any investments that are remotely related to healthcare. It's not that hard or an unreasonable standard.

It is hard when you have an account manager making the investments for you and if it's part of a broader portfolio. Every news story I read on it (2) said she had an account manager and the purchases were part of a large portfolio investment. Do you think pharmacists or doctors should be able to invest in pharma companies? I make medication recommendations all day every day. I don't know what my financial adviser has all my money in. Did she specifically tell her account manager to make those purchases in specific companies?
 

GopherJake

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Do you have a significant role in shaping public policy?
 

GopherJake

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No, thank god. Did she shape policies that improved the tobacco business she invested in?
No idea, but she is certainly in a position to do so, which, I believe defines a conflict of interest.
 

bottlebass

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No idea, but she is certainly in a position to do so, which, I believe defines a conflict of interest.

Yeah I guess the potential doesn't bother me. Everyone every day has the potential to do bad things and believe it or not some people decide not to do those. But evidently a "conflict of interest" as defined only needs there to be a potential. So when is every one of our senators and congress people going to resign? What percentage of them have conflicts of interest? 95%?
 

cncmin

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Yeah I guess the potential doesn't bother me. Everyone every day has the potential to do bad things and believe it or not some people decide not to do those. But evidently a "conflict of interest" as defined only needs there to be a potential. So when is every one of our senators and congress people going to resign? What percentage of them have conflicts of interest? 95%?

Probably close to all of them, yes; and probably all of them less than our POTUS. And that's a big, big, big reason why the US government can get called a "swamp" by a man who is a swamp creature coming to expand the swamp.

In this case, the conflict of interest is reasonably clear. She either should not be in her position, or should not be creating conflicts of interest. But, she's part of The Swamp. Corrupt? Yes. Something gunna happen about it? No, especially not by THIS POTUS or THIS Congress.
 

GopherJake

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Yeah I guess the potential doesn't bother me. Everyone every day has the potential to do bad things and believe it or not some people decide not to do those. But evidently a "conflict of interest" as defined only needs there to be a potential. So when is every one of our senators and congress people going to resign? What percentage of them have conflicts of interest? 95%?
Fair retort. I think we understand each other.
 

justthefacts

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Yeah I guess the potential doesn't bother me. Everyone every day has the potential to do bad things and believe it or not some people decide not to do those. But evidently a "conflict of interest" as defined only needs there to be a potential. So when is every one of our senators and congress people going to resign? What percentage of them have conflicts of interest? 95%?

Yes, that's exactly what a conflict of interest is. It's not called a conflict of action.

"a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity."
 

Section2

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It would broadly be a conflict of interest for the director of the CDC to invest in any healthcare related stock while in the position. Whether this qualifies is probably a gray area. What if she planned to short it? She could certainly do things to make tobacco stocks fall.

tobacco companies aren't healthcare related LOL
 
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