It would be nice if we were all very honest people who were not swayed by money or the promise of influence. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the way the world works. Today’s Daily Caller posted a story about White House Counselor John Podesta, who will be leaving the White House to take a position in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The article reports:
But his work came into fuller view earlier this week when he emerged as one of the architects of the new White House policy that seeks to end any future drilling for oil on Alaska’s coastal plain.
In fact, Podesta personally announced the policy in a White House blog post Sunday, waxing poetic that the move would ensure “this wild, free, beautiful, and bountiful place remains in trust for Alaska Natives and for all Americans.”
Shielding public lands from oil and gas drilling also is one of the main occupations of Hansjorg Wyss, a mysterious Swiss billionaire who personally hired Podesta as a “consultant” in 2013 just before he entered the White House, according to his White House disclosure form.
The problem is that because of the timing involved, there is a violation of federal ethics rules.
The article explains:
But it may be Wyss’s decision to personally hire the White House Counselor in 2013 as a “consultant,” and paying him $87,000 that could cause Podesta the most trouble.
A number of federal ethics rules, including President Obama’s “ethics pledge,” signed into law by the president on his first day in office, preclude political appointees from engaging in issues of interest to a former employer.
The period of disqualification applies to all work done within two years before entering the federal government. Podesta worked at Wyss’s HJW Foundation in 2013 and joined the White House in January 2014.
Wyss has a history of working to put federal lands off limits for energy exploration and for use as grazing property.
The article details more of Wyss’ activities:
He famously ponied up $35 million in 2010 to set aside 310,000 acres of land from development in Montana.
In January 2013, Wyss contributed $4.25 million to purchase oil and gas leases on 58,000 acres of land in Wyoming’s Hoback Basin.
In addition to Podesta, Wyss also hired Molly Mcusic to be his foundation president.
Mcusic served in the Clinton administration as a top assistant to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit. She is best remembered for using the Antiquities Act to designate lands as “National Monuments.”
I wish we had someone in Washington uncorrupt enough to take on this sort of corruption. Americans are being denied the use of land that would add to the prosperity of the average citizen, and someone from another country is pulling the strings within an American administration. Would anyone be willing to wager how much of this story will make the major news outlets?