Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is adding some new proposals to her anti-corruption plan, this time with one particularly provocative target: President Trump’s sister.
In a Medium post published Monday, the Massachusetts Democrat proposes closing the loophole that “allows federal judges to escape investigations for misconduct by stepping down from their post.”
In outlining the idea, Warren specifically references a case involving Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump-Barry, whose retirement brought an abrupt end to an investigation into her role in various tax schemes of the family and potential fraud therein.
“Under my plan, investigations will remain open until their findings are made public and any penalties for misconduct are issued,” Warren writes in the post.
In spotlighting the Trump-Barry case, Warren becomes the first Democratic presidential candidate to take an overt shot at the president’s sister. But Trump-Barry isn’t the only judge that Warren cites as a basis for her ethics policy. The senator also cites allegations of sexual misconduct against the former appeals court judge Alex Kozinski and how a probe into the allegations was scuttled when he resigned.
Nor is the proposal dealing with federal judges the lone plank in the new policy. The proposal is one of many in a larger package that includes banning “lobbyists from making political contributions” and “from bundling donations or hosting fundraisers for political candidates." It would also ban senior officials and members of Congress from serving on for-profit boards and prohibit courts from using sealed settlements to conceal evidence in cases involving public health and safety. Collectively, the program is ambitious in its scope. But it would face hurdles to its passage. Warren is attaching it to her current ethics bill which requires congressional approval in order for enactment.
The timing of Warren’s proposals is politically intriguing, however, as it comes as reports of new sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Warren, as well as many of her 2020 Democratic opponents, said on Sunday that they believed the new revelations warranted impeachment of Kavanaugh, something that several progressive groups have been pushing as well.
In laying out her new ethics pledge, Warren says that the proposed closing of loopholes could apply to situations like Kavanaugh’s, as she noted that a judicial conduct panel dismissed a number of ethics complaints against Kavanaugh in August, citing their lack of authority over Supreme Court justices.
“Our federal court system only works if the American people have faith that it is neutrally dispensing fair-minded justice without bias or personal interests interfering in judicial decisions,” Warren writes. “If we want the American people to believe this, we need some serious judicial ethics reforms.”
The release of it precedes a speech Warren will deliver in New York City on Monday night near the site of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, continuing a pattern for the 2020 contender of introducing policy tied to the historical struggles of workers.