Showing posts with label Cabinet W.H.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cabinet W.H.. Show all posts

February 16, 2017

No Documentation Gen.Flynn Flying to Moscow Dining with Putin, Gifts

Chaffetz and Cummings question payments to Trump's ex-national security adviser.

 Michael Flynn, Seen as another Russian asset

The Pentagon has informed lawmakers that there are no records of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s 2015 trip to Moscow, when he dined with Russian President Vladimir Putin and may have accepted unconstitutional payments from a foreign government for his attendance.

In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House oversight committee delivered Tuesday, acting Army Secretary Robert Speer confirmed that Flynn — a retired lieutenant general — filed no documentation of his trip.

In response, House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the committee, sent a letter that suggests Flynn may have inappropriately accepted payments from the Russian government or its agents in exchange for his attendance. Scrutiny is growing on Flynn’s trip and whether his payment violated the Constitution’s Emolument’s Clause, which prohibits any person holding an “office of profit or trust” in the federal government from accepting foreign payment. The prohibition has long been considered to apply for retired military officials.

The letter is addressed to Leading Authorities, the speaker’s bureau that Flynn has suggested coordinated his payment for the event. Chaffetz and Cummings ask for the company to turn over all documents pertaining to Flynn’s trip to Russia, as well as any sources of payment for his appearance. They also seek any documents about Flynn’s other appearances connected to Russia Today, the Kremlin-aligned news outlet with which he’s had a relationship.

Chaffetz’s decision to join the inquiry — initially made by Cummings on Feb. 1 — comes a day after he called for a probe of intelligence community leaks that have been damaging to the Trump White House.

He's so far resisted pressure from Democrats to investigate reports that Trump associates had routine contacts with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Chaffetz has, however, pursued inquiries into whether Trump is in violation of his lease of the Old Post Office Building, which houses his D.C. hotel, and whether senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway violated ethics laws to hawk Ivanka Trump’s apparel line in a TV appearance from the White House.

January 26, 2017

Hardees/Carls W/ 30+Complaints Labor SecPick Might be Derailed

As his confirmation hearing to be Labor Secretary was pushed back for a third time, workers filed more than 30 complaints against fast food executive Andy Puzder's restaurants Thursday. 
Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the company that controls Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, has been one of President Donald Trump's most controversial cabinet picks -- and one of the few that opponents still have a chance of derailing. 
On Thursday, workers affiliated with the labor-union backed campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour filed 33 complaints with state and local authorities against Carl's Jr. and Hardee's franchises. They allege wage theft, sexual harassment, and unfair labor practices. Workers also staged their second major anti-Pudzer protest of the month in multiple cities across the country. 

Andy Puzder

CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder speaks in Austin, Texas to highlight Carl's Jr.'s commitment to the state of Texas, in 2014. Jack Plunkett / AP Images for Carl's Jr.

In a statement, CKE said they do not comment on pending litigation, but noted that nearly 95% of the company's restaurants are franchised, meaning the corporate entity that Pudzer leads did not run them. "Each of these 2,769 franchise stores are run independently and solely responsible for their employees, management and adherence to regulations and labor practices," a CKE Spokesperson said in an email. 
But the workers argue that Pudzer created a corporate culture and incentive structure that encouraged managers at individual stores to crack down on labor organizing and allow the alleged abuses to continue. 
"If Andy Puzder can't be trusted to pay his workers what they've earned, why should we expect him to enforce laws meant to protect working Americans?" said Los Angeles Carl's Jr. worker Angel Gallegos in a statement.  
Meanwhile, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Thursday postponed Puzder's confirmation hearing another five days, from Feb. 2 to Feb. 7, explaining that it was to allow the nominee more time to submit required paperwork. It was the third time his hearing has been delayed, even as other Trump nominees have started work at their new posts, something that opponents see as a weakness for his path forward. 
The fast food industry has been one of largest sources of opposition to minimum wage hikes, and Pudzer himself has been particularly outspoken. He personally spent $10,000 to fight a ballot initiative in Nevada that would have raised the state's minimum wage a single dollar. 
He’s infamously called for replacing workers with robots, and has said that fast food restaurants “compete for the best of the worst" workers.


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