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Mapping the Trump administration’s corruption across the executive branch

Trump corruption

One of the things that most scares me about the current administration is the terrible — and possibly long-term — erosive effect it is having on the entire executive branch. One of the best books to document this systemic tragedy is Michael Lewis’ Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy (many libraries have access to it via Overdrive so check your local public library. They’re still working hard even during the pandemic!)

If you can’t get your hands on Lewis’ book, then check out the American Prospect, which has done a massive investigation into the Trump administration’s dodgy practices.

In three years as president, he has transformed the executive branch into a giant favor factory, populated with the agents or willing partners of virtually every special interest. Add up all the routine, daily outrages—the quasi-bribery and quasi-extortion, the private raids on public funds, the handouts to the undeserving, the massive flow of cash, jobs, and freebies back in return—and Trump’s attempt to squeeze a little re-election help out of the fragile government of a desperate Eastern European country does not loom particularly large in the reckoning … The Trump administration has brought its brand of corruption and self-dealing to every agency in the federal government, and it’s hard for anyone to keep on top of it all. We’ve mapped it out for you. Click on any agency building below, and unlock an extensive dossier of the activities happening inside.

via Mapping Corruption.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


  1. I usually agree with your posts James, but here I have to disagree. I think what Trump has done is bring to light the detritus laying dormant until called. Now it is choking out all hope of democracy and stifling the free flow of information which is what our country needs to keep everyone informed. Just my two cents. Good conversation starter and two good book recommendations.

    • Thanks for commenting Aimee. I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re disagreeing with? I was simply documenting the corrosive corruption running rampant (like a pandemic? too soon?) through the entire executive branch. I think that jibes with your perspective as its this very corruption which is stifling democracy and the free flow of information — or rather part of the corruption is the debasement, if not downright erasure, of govt information. This is also reinforcing the problematic notion perpetuated by the right for the last 30 years that govt is the problem and that the only good govt is the one small enough to be drowned in a bathtub (see Grover Norquist).

  2. Hi James,
    Thanks for the clarification, James. It is my mistaking the quotation from Jim Lardner to be something you were emphasizing, rather than a quotation. I will watch myself as I could not understand why you would say “The Trump administration has brought its brand of corruption and self-dealing to every agency in the federal government, and it’s hard for anyone to keep on top of it all.” when FGI does a great job keeping track of so much fo what is going on. Plus, as I stated, I do not believe this “brand of self-dealing” is new to Washington politics per se; it was not just done as brazenly open.

    The real question is how much will the citizenry tolerate? We know how vital the free flow of government information is to society but where does the average person rank it? And not just in a survey, but if they had to put money towards ensuring its survival, where would they choose? I doubt it would make their top 10 list of government services. What do you think?

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