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Published: Mon, January 09, 2017
USA | By Yvette Dunn

Booker wants financial records before Senate considers Trump nominees

Booker wants financial records before Senate considers Trump nominees

The Office of Government Ethics is raising alarm over the pace of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's nominees, saying Saturday that they have yet to receive required financial disclosures for some picks set to come before Congress next week.

"The announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me", wrote Walter Shaub Jr., director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE). "Until these nominees have fully cooperated with the ethics review process, the hearings and confirmation schedule should not be rushed".

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Among those now scheduled for hearings next Tuesday and Wednesday are some of Trump's most controversial picks, including former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump's secretary of state selection; Senator Jeff Sessions, up for consideration for attorney general; and former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary. "McConnell said on Wednesday that "the American people simply will not tolerate" it if Democrats refuse to confirm a Trump Supreme Court nominee".

The head of the federal agency charged with vetting President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet picks says his office is unlikely to complete its ethics reviews ahead of confirmation hearings in the Senate.

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Trump promised a border wall throughout the campaign, but also said Mexico would pay for it and that it would serve as a domestic job-creation mechanism. "These inmates, they're skilled, they want to be able to do these things", he said.

Trump's team hit back with criticism that the hearing process was being "politicized".

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) also questioned McConnell's plan to advance numerous nominees, even though the Senate has yet to receive the background materials typically required of Cabinet officials.

"More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings", Shaub explained in the letter. Senate Democrats have indicated they have sharp questions about, and may work to delay confirmation on, at least eight nominees.

But Schumer said he wants to negotiate a plan with McConnell that will permit senators to take more time to examine the backgrounds of numerous nominees.

McConnell acknowledged on Sunday that paperwork from the nominees was "still coming in". Both nominees are still undergoing ethics and Federal Bureau of Investigation reviews, aides said. The New York Times reports that some of the Trump's picks are so rich that there aren't enough boxes on the standard disclosure forms for them to list all their varied assets. In an interview on "Fox News Sunday", Priebus said Democrats "have all the information" they need and should move fast because voters mandated it. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) held a press conference to call for an ethics investigation into Price's investments and trades of health-care stocks while sitting on the House Ways and Means Committee and other panels overseeing the industry.

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