Congress: Time to Take a Hard Look at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross 

Recent threats against NOAA staff are just the tip of the iceberg of evidence against the  Commerce Secretary  

WASHINGTON — Backlash continues against Secretary Ross for threatening staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for contradicting President Trump’s inaccurate claims that Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama, but the truth is that they are just the latest in a long line of egregious behaviors. 

But we seem to have reached a tipping point.  A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows that 60% of Americans believe a recession is on the horizon next year, meaning the Commerce Department should be working hard to allay Americans’ fears. Instead, Ross appears to be spending his time threatening NOAA scientists on behalf of his boss. So it begs the question: What is going on under Wilbur Ross’ leadership of the Commerce Department? 

Under Ross’s leadership at the Department of Commerce: 

  • Secretary Ross and Attorney General William Barr failed to comply with Congressional subpoenas and refused to fulfill several public records requests following revelations that the  administration worked with an expert on Republican gerrymandering to draft the citizenship question that was added to the 2020 Census. Restore Public Trust even filed a lawsuit against the Department of Commerce about it.
  • Ross’s personal financial disclosures were rejected from the government ethics agency that routinely certifies forms from government officials over the inaccuracies it contained. To date, Ross does not have the required financial disclosures on file, which means we don’t know where his money is.
  • It’s been reported the Commerce Department is completely dysfunctional and Ross is literally falling asleep on the job. 
  • The secretary also used a private email account to talk with a Holocaust denier and “one of the country’s most notorious Internet trolls.
  • Ross has received a myriad gifts from people who might be trying to buy influence. Gifts like gold boxes, Romanian gold coins, a dozen gold-covered Zodiac figurines and a crystal business card holder.
  • Let’s also not forget that Ross actually made himself and his investors rich by laying off factory workers across the US. 

“Americans are seriously worried about the US sliding into a recession but instead of bolstering confidence and taking steps to prevent an economic downturn, Secretary Ross is threatening workers from a scientific agency to save face for his boss,” said Restore Public Trust Director Lizzy Price. “The worst part is, this is just the latest offense in a long line of corrupt behavior. Secretary Ross has a history of grifting, laying off workers, profiting off of home foreclosures, lying about his financials, lying about his motivation to add the citizenship question to the Census, and accepted extravagant gifts. What more proof does Congress need to investigate him?” 

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