Democrats are calling on Senate Republicans to delay hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks, citing an incomplete ethics screening of several nominees.
“It is unprecedented and deeply worrisome to hold confirmation hearings on President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees before basic ethics reviews are completed,” Democratic National Committee (DNC) spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
“These rushed hearings must be delayed until the ethics reviews are finished, and if Trump and the GOP-led Senate fail to do so, the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they are concerned about what will be exposed,” Watson added.
Earlier on Saturday, the director of the federal Office of Government Ethics, a watchdog agency that conducts ethics reviews of all Cabinet appointments, said that the plan to hold confirmation hearings before the ethics reviews are complete is “of great concern.”
“As OGE’s director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me,” Walter Shaub, Jr., said in a letter to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
“This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews,” he added.
Schumer also blasted the timing of the scheduled hearings, accusing Republican lawmakers of trying to “jam through” the nominees.
“The Office of Government Ethics letter makes crystal-clear that the transition team’s collusion with Senate Republicans to jam through these Cabinet nominees before they’ve been thoroughly vetted is unprecedented,” Schumer said in a statement.
The GOP hopes to hold the confirmation hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week as the party seeks to usher a smooth transition of power to the new administration.
The nominees currently scheduled for the next week’s hearings include former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for the next secretary of state; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s nominee for attorney general; and Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for Education secretary.