Fox Guarding the Henhouse Again
PresidentÂ Donald Trump has just nominated Alex Azar to be his next Secretary of Health and Human Services, to replace Tom Price, whom resigned in disgrace.Â As usual, instead of holding a press event to introduce his nominee to the public and laud his accomplishments, Trump posted a tweet.
Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!
â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2017
There is no reason to believe Azar will help to “lower drug prices.”
LGBT people, minorities, women, and anyone who benefits from ObamaCare and the protections the Affordable Care Act has delivered to Americans should be greatly concerned.
Azar until recently was the president of Lilly USA, the American affiliate of Eli Lilly, an international pharmaceutical giant. That alone should be disqualifying, but in Trumpland it’s considered a plus. Over half of Trump’s nominees come fromÂ industries they supposedly are regulating as publicÂ servants in the Trump administration.Â
But there’s a good deal more for Americans to worry about with Azar.
A donor to Trump, he fully supports the complete repeal of ObamaCare. Before becoming the president of a Big Pharma behemoth, Azar worked in the George W. Bush administration asÂ Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, but he also served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most far right wing justices to ever serve on the nation’s highest court.Â
Azar is also a member of the far right wing Federalist Society, whichÂ advocates for theÂ false belief that the Constitution is not a living document designed to be interpreted, but rather that its words are to mean only and exactly what they did at the time they were written. Scalia, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, are also members.
During the Clinton years Azar helped prosecute the failed Whitewater case against the Clintons, which no doubt has only endeared him to Trump.
“The swamp only gets worse,” liberal think tank and advocacy group Public Citizen wrote last month on news Azar was under consideration. “Tom Price supported Big Pharma in the U.S. Congress. Now apparently Trump has decided to cut out the middleman, and let a pharmaceutical executive literally run the health department.”
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Wealthy Florida Community Got COVID Vaccine Before Anyone Else — Then the Governor Got a $250,000 Contribution
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have scored big in the CPAC Straw Poll last weekend, but his citizens aren’t likely to appreciate wealthy communities being able to jump the line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Florida’s elderly are still struggling to sign up to get their first dose of the vaccine, but in a wealthy gated enclave in the Florida Keys, everyone was vaccinated in January.
A Jan. 22 newsletter sent to the Herald revealed that the Ocean Reef Club in north Key Largo despite the rest of the state struggling to get the vaccine, “Over the course of the last two weeks, the Medical Center has vaccinated over 1,200 homeowners who qualify under the State of Florida’s Governor’s current Order for those individuals who are 65 years of age or older.”
“We are fortunate to have received enough vaccines to ensure both the first and second for those vaccinated,” the newsletter message continued. “At this time, however, the majority of the State has not received an allocation of first doses of vaccines for this week and beyond, and the timing of any subsequent deliveries remains unclear.”
The Herald questioned whether the Republican donors who live in the area are behind the decision to give quick and easy access.
“In fact, the only people from Key Largo who gave to DeSantis’ political committee live in Ocean Reef,” said the report. “All 17 of them had given the governor contributions of $5,000 each through December 2020, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
One donor, in particular, gave Gov. DeSantis an extra $250,000 after the area got their vaccines in mid-January.
Trump DOJ Refused to Open Criminal Investigation Into Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao IG Says Was ‘Warranted’
The Trump Dept. of Justice refused an Inspector General’s request to open a criminal investigation into Transportation Secretary Elaine’s Chao’s possible misuse of her office. Chao resigned one day after the January 6 insurrection.
“A formal investigation into potential misuses of position was warranted,” Mitch Behm, the department’s deputy inspector general, said on Tuesday, The New York Times reports. The Times cites “a letter to House lawmakers, accompanying a 44-page report detailing the investigation and the findings of wrongdoing.”
The Inspector General’s report reveals the IG’s office had “referred its findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia on December 16, 2020, and the U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section on December 17, 2020, both of which declined prosecution.”
In one instance, Chao had her staff pressure a store to do a repair job for her father. “Tell them I’m the secretary of transportation,” she said.
“The report said the Justice Department declined to investigate her promotion of her family’s shipbuilding business while serving as transportation secretary in the Trump administration,” the Times notes, suggestion there is no question Chao engaged in “promotion of her family’s shipbuilding business while serving as transportation secretary.”
The Times adds: “The inspector general’s investigation detailed a series of instances where Ms. Chao directed her staff to spend federal government time and resources to help with matters related to the shipbuilding company and her father.”
A search of the IG’s 44-page report reveals the word “father” appears 82 times.
Read the Times’ full report here.
Jim Jordan’s Campaign’s Funds Reporting Is Off by Millions and May Trigger an Investigation: Report
The campaign committee for U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is under scrutiny after apparent mismanagement of funds leading to an under-reporting of nearly $3 million over a two-year period. The problems are so severe “experts say that the dollar amount — errors totaling some $2.87 million — may trigger an FEC investigation,” according to The Daily Beast.
Over the past three days the Federal Election Commission has sent Jordan’s campaign committee ten notices “in reply to more than a dozen amended reports correcting errors that the campaign caught in a sweeping review of filings, going as far back as 2018. One of the filings discloses errors in spending and raising totalling $1,470,286.48.”
Jordan’s campaign has about a month to respond. Failure to “adequately respond” could result in enforcement action.
Campaign spokesperson Kevin Eichinger told The Daily Beast: “There was never any money missing from the account…In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports,” which is also not a good sign.
“The error occurred when the former campaign treasurer inadvertently double-reported certain fundraising expenses,” Eichinger adds. “When the error was discovered, the campaign hired an outside expert to conduct a comprehensive audit and file the appropriate amendments.”
Read the full report here.
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