In yet another sign that they're done pretending they work for the American people, House Republicans got rid of a regulation that keeps oil companies from secretly paying off officials in other countries:
Using the little-known Congressional Review Act, the House GOP voted on Wednesday to kill an Obama-era regulation that would require publicly traded oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose any payments that they made to foreign governments, including taxes and royalties.
The rule itself dates back to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act — when senators from both parties included a provision requiring greater disclosure from mining and drilling companies working abroad. The hope was to cut down on corruption in resource-rich developing countries by increasing transparency.
Oil companies hated it because it allegedly put them at a disadvantage against compettitors but we were far from the only country to demand this kind of transparency. But transparency is a problem when it comes to bribery. It's currently illegal to pay off government officials in other countries (although there's no reason to think it will remain illegal under Trump) and forcing oil companies to operate in the light makes it almost impossible to slip in a multi-million dollar bribe to gain exclusive rights to a new oil field.
But that's all over now as Republicans deliver another early Christmas gift to their owners. Even better? They're using the Congressional Review Act to bypass the Democrats so it can't be stopped.
It may sound like an obscure bit of law that really only affects other countries but it's part of an emerging pattern of growing Republican corruption. After the (temporarily) aborted attempt of House Republicans to eliminate their own ethical oversight, we watched the Republican controlled legislature of South Dakota override an anti-corruption law voted in by referendum. They simply told the people of South Dakota that they weren't interested in not being corrupt. Before that, we watched Republicans in North Carolina strip the incoming Democratic governor of power because how dare the voters make their will known?
And, of course, neither House nor Senate Republicans have lifted a finger to deal with the massive, historical and completely unprecedented corruption that Donald Trump represents. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the crusader for justice that had a million investigations planned if Hillary won, literally threatened the government group looking into Trump's impending corruption in order to shield Trump from being exposed.
Clearly, Republicans are planning to turn a blind eye to anything Trump does. Why shouldn't they? They're ringing the dinner bell for every corporation that wants to directly purchase their own Senator or congressperson. Who wants to stop the gravy train when it's about to get rolling?
Assuming the country survives the next four years, it's going to take decades to dig out the rot of Republican corruption. The history books will look at the elimination of transparency laws for oil companies as the first baby steps leading to a level of corruption not seen since the Gilded Age.