WASHINGTON, D.C. This weekend, reports in the Washington Post and Politico brought new attention to President Trump’s long-standing effort to shield his administration from sunlight by removing, replacing, and shuffling around inspectors general meant to independently oversee the actions of administration officials.

Howard “Skip” Elliott, Trump’s newly-tapped Department of Transportation (DOT) inspector general, is far from impartial — in his new capacity, he’ll be charged with investigating actions he took as an administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) within DOT. 

Elliott is the fifth Trump-friendly official the President has tapped to replace a career official in an inspector general role since the COVID-19 crisis began, and experts say Trump’s shady moves with federal watchdogs might not be constitutionally sound.

“Trump has long shown that transparency in his administration isn’t a priority. His actions during this crisis have proven the lengths to which he will go to quash accountability and cover up his administration’s failures to adequately respond to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “It’s imperative that Congress take action to ensure that inspectors general are serving as impartial, independent agents — not simply as guards for the President.”


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