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2/17/2017
Oversight needed
EDITOR, Daily News:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. The president’s ongoing refusal to divest himself of the Trump Organization, and the massive potential for corruption which has resulted from this decision, falls right within Chaffetz’s purview. However, the Oversight chairman has steadfastly refused to hold any hearings on this issue, despite it often being front-page news for the past three months. Instead, Chaffetz has decided that the best use of the Oversight Committee’s time and resources is in investigating the Office of Government Ethics for the office’s public criticisms of the president.

This general attempt to cover up shady behavior did not go unnoticed back home. On Feb. 9, Chaffetz held a town hall. There he was confronted by a crowd of constituents who demanded that he take his job as House Oversight Chairman seriously. Rep. Chaffetz responded to this criticism with evasion, insisting he saw no real reason to investigate the president as the president’s conflicts of interest are not currently illegal.  Similarly, Chaffetz saw no reason to demand the president release his tax returns and fully disclose his conflicts of interest, as there is no current law requiring this. Of course, Congress’ ongoing unwillingness to close these loopholes by legislation or investigation is precisely the problem. Chaffetz’s evasions prompted the town hall to chant “Do your job!  Do your job!” 

Afterwards Chaffetz accused these thousands of dissatisfied constituents of being paid protestors. It is the natural response of leaders who know their conduct is indefensible to insist that their critics aren’t real. 

Sen. Murkowski will be in Ketchikan on Feb. 20. There have been requests for a town hall so that anxious and upset Alaskans might ask her questions about what is happening in Washington.  Let’s see if she shows Alaskans the same contempt that Rep. Chaffetz showed the people of Utah.

GHERT ABBOTT

Ketchikan