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Revealing the Secret Teams Tasked with Gutting Public Protections

The Trump Administration’s legislative record has been nearly as contradictory as the rest of Donald Trump’s presidency.

He’s (falsely) claimed to having passed more legislation in less time than any other president in history “with the exception of FDR.” While he has signed a significant number of bills into law, the majority of them are minor policy changes, and none are signature legislative victories. Even with Republican control of Congress, the border wall hasn’t started and Obamacare hasn’t stopped.

It almost seems that the more attention Team Trump puts on an issue, the less is done about it.

So what policies are getting enacted under President Trump? Just under half of the bills he signed during his first 100 days in office were aimed at removing Obama-era protections from law. Many of these, and a number of his executive orders, could be classified as under-the-radar handouts for big corporations.

A recent New York TimesProPublica investigation revealed what may be the most secret and corporate-friendly policy project yet undertaken by the Trump administration. A Trump executive order to create federal agency teams to slash regulation is being executed in the least transparent way imaginable. The membership of these “Task Forces” has largely been kept from the public.

A telling example is a Justice Department Task Force, of which only two members have been identified.  A spokesperson said that the rest of the members are not people but “components” and then declined to name them. Perhaps this is because of those Task Force members whose identities have been revealed, almost a third have material conflicts of interest.

A final illustration of the level of secrecy involved in this effort came from a letter (partially pictured above) that Congressional Democrats sent this week requesting more information about these Tasks Forces. The first item asked for was the most basic piece of information—the names of the Task Forces that have been created.

While daunting in the face of the endless drama emanating from the White House, the public would be wise to keep an eye on these secret teams working to remove more consumer and environmental protections from law.