The Trump administration has become so past corrupt that we have now arrived at journalists trying to make sense of “incompetent grifters in plain sight” that have turned the workaday corruption of the past into blatant “dimwitted, cartoonish corruption” that shamelessly operates in plain view of the American taxpayers.
My new post: Zinke hired an old football buddy to review scientific research proposals before the Interior Department. It isn’t going well. https://t.co/9jG63mKVaB
— David Roberts (@drvox) August 22, 2018
This is literally what’s going on, as preposterous as it would be in any other presidential administration: Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, is getting an old football buddy, Steve Howke, to determine if climate science and other science research proposals will be funded or rejected.
We have arrived at a level of Trump corruption that is so cartoonishly bad that journalists have to point out it's not satire. https://t.co/gXMg4IsSy1
— Imaginary Gay Agenda 💞 (@ImaginaryAgenda) August 22, 2018
Let’s review his background:
- No past government experience.
- No experience in science or research.
- No experience with grant proposals.
- He has a bachelor’s in business administration and has worked mainly in credit unions.
Oh, and he gave big donations to Republicans:
“Steve Howke has given at least $485 in political contributions to Republican candidates, including $160 to Ryan Zinke in 2008. He does not appear to have contributed to any Democrats.”
Howke played football with Zinke in Hich School in Montana, a childhood friend since kindergarten. That is the reason he gets to be the guy that says yes or no to scientific funding requests above $50,000 as part of billions in annual grants funding.
He’s the guy that determines if that research “better align with the administration’s priorities.”
We know Trump’s priorities don’t include climate science. He doesn’t even admit to believing in climate change, after all.
Here is how Vox’s David Roberts described the way Zinke may have arrived at hiring his old football buddy for this important role, which has been done by DOI staff in the past:
“Imagine, if you will, the chain of events. At some point, Trump made it clear to Zinke that he wanted the department to fund fewer Obama-sounding things. Zinke didn’t feel like he could trust DOI staff to implement Trumpian priorities, so he needed someone else. And he thought, ‘I wonder what Steve’s up to these days!'”
As usual, the word “insult” doesn’t begin to cover what American taxpayer money is being used for in the Trump administration. This is one more example of blatant cronyism in the Trump swamp.
Howke’s role seems to be nothing more than obstructing climate science, arguably a top threat to the human race. If that isn’t totally irresponsible, then what is?
What’s going on here would be laughable if it weren’t so damn disastrous and corrupt. As Roberts notes, just a short time ago, “it would be implausible as fiction.”
Today, we must begin the very long road back to some semblance of normalcy, where the truth is still the truth and scientific research isn’t handled with such total disregard and contempt.
Steve Howke—who Zinke put in charge of Interior's $5.5B in yearly grants—has no experience in public land management or natural resource policy. But he played high school football with Zinke, so there’s that.
And now Zinke’s illegally hiding docs on Howke's grant decisions. pic.twitter.com/atRguZIJrI
— Democracy Forward (@DemocracyFwd) August 9, 2018
See more about how the Interior Department started putting grants through the political screening process in January below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube