This Week In Trump’s Swamp: Insider Trading, Pruitt’s Pants, And More Wasted Taxpayer Dollars

From reports of insider trading by Trump’s Cabinet Secretary, to millions of wasted taxpayer dollars, to yet another Pruitt scandal, this week showed again that Trump has failed to drain the swamp.


Here’s that and more:


Wilbur Ross shorted stock in a Kremlin-linked shipping firm just days after learning that reporters were preparing a negative story about his investments in the company.


New York Times: “Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. shorted stock in a shipping firm — an investment tactic for profiting if share prices fall — days after learning that reporters were preparing a potentially negative story about his dealings with the Kremlin-linked company. The transaction, valued between $100,000 and $250,000, took place last fall after Mr. Ross became aware that journalists investigating offshore finances were looking at his investments in the shipper Navigator Holdings, whose major clients included a Russian energy company.”


New York Times: “In interviews, ethics watchdogs raised alarms, saying the short sale created the appearance that Mr. Ross was acting on nonpublic information to potentially profit, which federal officer-holders are prohibited from doing.”


Scott Pruitt has spent a total of $4.6 million on security at the EPA, including $2,750 on “tactical pants” and “tactical polos.”


The Intercept: “Scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has now spent more than $4.6 million from public coffers on security, according to documents obtained by The Intercept and Documented under the Freedom of Information Act.”


The Intercept: “Records released under the Freedom of Information Act list expenditures totaling $288,610 on a range of security-related items. The EPA, according to three expense line items for April, spent a total of $2,749.62 on ‘tactical pants’ and ‘tactical polos.’”


Mike Pence’s office was a key ally for corporations and lobbyists seeking to influence the Trump administration.


Washington Post: “Pence Turns VP’s Office Into Gateway For Lobbyists To Influence The Trump Administration”


Buyers connected to Russia or former Soviet republics paid more than $100 million in cash at Trump-branded properties.


McClatchy: “Buyers connected to Russia or former Soviet republics made 86 all-cash sales — totaling nearly $109 million — at 10 Trump-branded properties in South Florida and New York City, according to a new analysis shared with McClatchy. Many of them made purchases using shell companies designed to obscure their identities.”


Ryan Zinke met with the chairman of energy company Halliburton about a real estate deal that could increase the value of land Zinke owns.


Politico: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met at department headquarters in August with Halliburton Chairman David Lesar and other developers involved in a Montana real estate deal that relied on help from a foundation Zinke established, according to a participant in the meeting and records cited by House Democrats late Thursday.”


Politico: “A foundation established by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and headed by his wife is playing a key role in a real-estate deal backed by the chairman of Halliburton, the oil-services giant that stands to benefit from any of the Interior Department’s decisions to open public lands for oil exploration or change standards for drilling. ”


Politico: “The Zinkes stand to benefit from the project in another way: They own land on the other side of the development, and have long sparred with neighbors about their various plans for it. If the new hotel, retail stores and microbrewery go through, real estate agents say, the Zinke-owned land next door would stand to increase substantially in value.”