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    Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross returns back to the hearing room after a brief recess on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee

    Embattled Wilbur Ross Revelations Highlight ‘Grifter Faction' Embedded in US Gov

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    Recent revelations that US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross siphoned more than $120 million from his associates show that US President Donald Trump is surrounding himself with like-minded folks, Jack Rasmus, a professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California, told Sputnik.

    A new report published by Forbes on Tuesday painted Ross as a businessman who's walked a grifter's path by taking millions from business associates throughout the years and then opting to take matters to court, where they ultimately stay for years before reaching any sort of settlement.

    "If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history," the report, which outlines several lawsuits, payments and Securities and Exchange Commission penalties that involved Ross and his business, states.

    The latest allegation posed by the publication comes months after it reported that Ross had lied about his wealth in order to still be listed on the annual Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.

    ​Rasmus told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Tuesday that the Forbes report does nothing more than highlight the "new finance capital elite" that Trump has embedded within the US government.

    "What it shows is that Trump has brought into his Cabinet like-minded types similar to himself," Rasmus told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "Trump rises as a commercial real estate speculator; wheeling and dealing; bilking his investors and his bankers and pushing the legal envelope; going to court, dragging it out and settling it for less."

    "This is the new finance capital elite who are now embedded within the government. This is the new group here, and whether it's Ross or [former Environmental Protection Agency head Scott] Pruitt or [former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom] Price, they're all cut from the same cloth here… [They're] the new grifter faction of the corporate elite in this country," he stressed.

    And, according to the author, Forbes' big tell-all isn't likely to bother Ross. "The point is, they wheel and deal, and it doesn't bother them to go over the edge of the law… they expect it and fight it out and enrich themselves and, you know, they all have scores of legal suits going, [and] that doesn't bother them," he said.

    A Department of Commerce statement released to Business Insider shot down Forbes' accusations and questioned the motivation behind the report, saying the content was "based on false rumours, innuendo and unverifiable claims."

    It also added that the "baseless claims" were "the result of a personal vendetta." Aside from reviewing financial documents, the Forbes article was also based on information offered by some 21 people who knew Ross.

    For Rasmus, the finds reign in the new "age of billionaires in politics."

    "They used to run squeaky clean politicians as a front for them to push their policies and so forth, but now they're running directly themselves and taking over government themselves without any hesitancy. And this ‘billionaires in politics' phenomenon is going on both the left and the right," Rasmus, the author of "Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes: Monetary Policy and the Coming Depression," said.

    And don't expect anything to come out of this, as it's unlikely that the 80-year-old New Jersey native, who reportedly snatches packets of Sweet'n Low from restaurants, will be stepping down from his post.

    "The media of the traditional elite is going after these Cabinet people one-by-one, hoping to tarnish Trump's whole administration by revealing they're all a bunch of scammers," Rasmus said. "We're going to continue to see more of that with Ross, and probably others as well, as they [the media] continue to go after Trump."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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