Dem lawmaker says Trump administration has kicked ethics standards 'to the curb'

Rep. Brenda LawrenceBrenda Lulenar LawrenceHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Lawmakers, tech set for clash over AI Bipartisan group asks DHS, ICE to halt deportations of Iraqi nationals MORE (D-Mich.) says the Trump administration is kicking ethics standards “to the curb.”

“I’m very concerned about classified, high-security clearances being given to nonmilitary, to nonpersonnel that do not meet the criteria for classified information, i.e., family,” Lawrence, who serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball in an interview that aired on Friday.

Lawrence said government officials have processes and protocols they are expected to follow and she argued that those who don't follow ethics standards should be held accountable.

"We have rules and we have processes and protocols that I’m expected to follow,” she continued. “This administration has just kicked that to the curb and you see these unexplainable activities.”

The Democratic congresswoman pointed to the Trump Organization, which owns Trump Hotels, as one just one example of the president's "unexplainable activities." 

Even though Trump resigned from his role and turned over management to his adult sons before his inauguration in January 2017, Lawrence argued that the president is still “reaping benefits” from the Trump Organization, which controls hotels and other properties around the world.

“He is actually reaping benefits from a relationship with a government that he is the chief executive office over … everyone knows it is illegal, it’s wrong and no one has held this president accountable,” Lawrence told Hill.TV.

After Democrats took control of the House, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDem lawmaker: 'Quite clear' Trump committed impeachable offenses Cummings on impeachment: 'We may very well come to that' Democrats should be careful wielding more investigations MORE (D-Md.) sent 51 letters to the White House and various Trump Organization officials as part of a series of congressional investigations.

Democrats on the committee last month also opened an expansive probe into the White House’s handling of security clearances.

Cummings sent a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone demanding a slew of documents related to the security clearance process. This includes those related to background investigations and security clearances of both current and former officials like senior White House advisor Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent House Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report Mueller considered charging campaign aides in Trump Tower meeting but lacked evidence MORE. Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law.

Lawrence insisted that Democrats are just doing the job they were “elected to do” when it comes congressional oversight.

“We are doing the work that we were elected to do and I stand by that,” she said. “This is not threatening, there has always been investigations, there’s always been oversight and we will do our job.”

— Tess Bonn