Barack Obama’s legacy was already on thin ice after many of his signature programs were dismantled during President Trump’s first year in office, and concerns over bias emerged within the Department of Justice.
Now, another blow to the 44th president’s White House tenure has come to light. While the bias concerns at the DOJ continue, another scandal regarding impartiality is gaining momentum, but this time it’s within a federal agency called the Chemical Safety Board.
A House investigative subcommittee is directing the EPA to investigate one of the officials Obama appointed while in office, after anti-lobbying laws were allegedly violated and the liberal ally tried to influence decision making in Washington.
“Chemical Safety Board (CSB) member Rick Engler worked with union activists to promote a grassroots campaign to keep the agency from losing its funding,” reported The Daily Caller in May of 2017. “Engler’s emails further raise concerns about the CSB’s impartiality.”
The CSB dates back to the 1990s, and is set up to investigate industrial chemical disasters within the United States. That obscure agency has been on the chopping block since Donald Trump took office, however.
“President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal eliminated the CSB. Congress ended up funding the CSB, but Trump’s 2019 budget plan again calls for eliminating the CSB,” explained the Caller in an updated report.
Since the story first broke last year, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has dug deeper into the claims of illegal lobbying by the Obama appointee, and that inquiry just took a very serious turn.
“If substantiated, these actions appear to implicate federal provisions restricting lobbying activities by federal officials,” Congressman Blake Farenthold wrote in a letter sent earlier this week.
“In light of this possible breach of federal anti-lobbying provisions, I request that your office investigate this matter and advise the committee as to whether these actions by a CSB board member violated any federal law or practice,” the Government Reform Committee member declared to the inspector general of the EPA.
The Anti-Lobbying Act “prohibits substantial ‘grass roots’ lobbying campaigns … designed to encourage members of the public to pressure members of Congress to support Administration or Department legislative or appropriations proposals,” in the words of the Department of Justice.
In simple terms, this means that government officials are limited in the kinds of campaigning or lobbying they can do, in order to stay reasonably unbiased as public servants.
However, it isn’t clear if Rick Engler would be actually charged with breaking anti-lobbying laws even if the inquiry finds wrongdoing.
“The situation certainly is a violation of the spirit of the Anti-Lobbying Act but probably does not rise to the level to meet DOJ standards as an actual violation of the Act,” legal expert Craig Holman explained to The Daily Caller.
Once again, the American people are seeing just how biased and politically motivated officials within Washington truly are. People like Engler are appointed and paid with taxpayer money to do specific jobs, not to lobby for their own political gain.
This may not be the most groundbreaking scandal in the country, but it’s yet another example of why the phrase “drain the swamp” resonated with so many people. Bureaucrats need to be held accountable… even if it takes years to do it.
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