Photo Credit: Ebgundy via Wikimedia Commons
As the Federal Railroad Administration finds itself in a crisis following a series of deadly crashes, a top official has resigned from the agency amid allegations of corrupt behavior and ethics violations.
Politico first reported that Heath Hall, the acting chief of the agency, appeared to be working for his private public relations company while in the high-ranking role. He had pledged not to conduct any public relations business while working in the Department of Transporation, according to the publication.
“We were unaware of the information that is being reported but those allegations, if they are true, are troubling,” the department told Politico in a statement. “Heath Hall has resigned his position at the Department effective immediately.”
Hall is just the latest administration official to go down in flames over ethics concerns.
The director of the CDC, Brenda Fitzgerald, resigned in January for buying tobacco industry stocks, despite her agency’s mission to fight smoking. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned for misuse of government funds on private jets — after being appointed in the face of allegations of unethical dealings as a congressman. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Kellyanne Conway have also been accused of violating ethics protocols, though they’ve kept their jobs.
It’s little surprise, though, that top officials think they can break the rules. From day one in the White House, President Trump has existed in a state of constant conflict of interest, Many argue that his continued business dealings with foreign entities violate the U.S. Constitution.
“This metastasized conflicts of interest cancer started spreading the moment Trump refused to divest his conflicts of interest,” tweeted Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics. “I warned before his inauguration that the rot at the top would spread, but even I never imagined it would spread quite so quickly.”
The Federal Railroad Administration was already in rough shape before Hall’s departure but is now completely unmoored. Despite Trump’s promises to be a builder president and to save our crumbling infrastructure, it doesn’t look like we’ll have major improvements to the national railways anytime soon.
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