Editorials

McConnell’s about-face on vetting presidential appointees is hypocritical, embarrassing

Mitch McConnell said on “Face the Nation” that Democrats are resorting to “little procedural complaints” because they’re frustrated by their recent losses.
Mitch McConnell said on “Face the Nation” that Democrats are resorting to “little procedural complaints” because they’re frustrated by their recent losses. CBS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hypocrisy is showing.

But will his unseemly display embarrass Republicans into digging into potential conflicts of interest and ethics violations by President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for high-ranking posts?

Stay tuned.

On “Face the Nation” Sunday, McConnell dismissed as “little procedural complaints” Democrats’ concerns that the Senate was moving ahead with confirmation hearings even if nominees had not submitted their required financial disclosures and been vetted by the Office of Government Ethics.

But in 2009 when a Democratic president’s nominees were in the spotlight, McConnell didn’t think the concerns were so little. He threatened to filibuster nominees who had not completed the disclosure and ethics requirements.

Moving nominations without disclosure apparently is unprecedented. The head of the Office of Government Ethics last week said, “I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review.”

Since then the Senate has delayed several hearings, signaling perhaps that McConnell’s hypocrisy is not playing well inside his own caucus.

Many of Trump’s nominees have vast, far-flung financial interests. Republicans will serve their party best by asking all the right questions on the front end.

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