WASHINGTON — My fellow Americans, it's time for some extreme vetting.

Not of Muslims, refugees, "dreamers" or any of the other usual scapegoats. We need more vetting of the scoundrels and swamp creatures running our country.

President Trump has repeatedly accused Senate Democrats of slow-walking his picks for key administration posts, forcing nominees to endure hoop-jumping and procedural delays. But the many scandals piling up around those who have been successfully confirmed demonstrate that, if anything, the Senate has been green-lighting Trump nominees much too hastily.

Forget qualifications or expertise (which apparently, alas, get forgotten easily enough). A half-dozen or so current or former Cabinet members stand accused of improperly using taxpayer funds. These include extravagant office redecorations; trips on private jets, including a $25,000 flight for less than an hour in the air from Washington to Philadelphia; and taxpayer-funded spousal vacations.

And then there are the family-member shakedowns, sweetheart deals, self-dealing allegations, jobs and end-run raises for unqualified cronies, and at least the appearance of regulatory quid pro quos.

Most recently, we learned that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt was living at a Capitol Hill condo owned in part by an energy lobbyist's wife, for which he paid just $50 per night.

Other administration officials, including many whose jobs don't require Senate confirmation, have been accused of hiding all sorts of misbehavior and facts material to their work.

These include omissions of financial assets and meetings with foreigners on federal disclosure forms; accusations of spousal abuse; and reportedly, in the case of a recently dismissed presidential body-man, possible financial crimes and online gambling problems.

Needless to say, this disdain for proper vetting starts at the top.

Trump has exhibited near-unprecedented levels of opacity. He became the first major-party presidential candidate in four decades not to release his tax returns, ludicrously blaming a continuous audit. He even obfuscates on the limited financial disclosures he's legally required to release.

His own lawyers originally wanted him to submit his financial disclosure without signing to certify that the information was true. The information that he did ultimately certify appears deliberately impenetrable. He often lists revenue, rather than profits, which masks his actual income. And due to his Russian-nesting-doll-like LLCs, we don't know how these companies derive much of their income, whom they owe money to or on what terms.

This is all critical information if you want to know if there's funny business going on. In the 21st century, you don't need a sack of cash to offer a bribe. A cut-rate loan works just as well and would be much easier to hide.

More to the point, because we don't know how much Trump was worth when he took office, there's no way to determine how much he might be using that office to further enrich himself.

In a more functional democracy, in a more normal time, legislators would be vigorously investigating these lies, obfuscations and scandals on the back end, even if they inadequately scrutinized many of the key players on their way in.

So why aren't they?

For one, Republicans hold majorities in both chambers of Congress, and they have strong incentives to leave lots of stones unturned in a Republican White House. But a more fundamental problem afflicts lawmakers from both parties: It's not exactly in their interest to whet the public's appetite for greater transparency.

The executive branch is not the only one that befogs its members' behavior and personal finances, after all. Congress exempted itself from the Freedom of Information Act. And while many legislators have called for Trump to disclose his tax returns, precious few have ever voluntarily released their own.

As a result, we still don't know how much lawmakers personally benefit from the sweeping tax law they just passed, though there have been attempts to quantify the magnitude of individual measures.

Democrats are fishing around for a message ahead of the midterms. Here is my humble suggestion: a promise of sweeping ethics reform, radical transparency and ruthless screening of anyone who has power to set policy and rig the system in their favor, regardless of party or branch of government. Financial arrangements need to be examined with a fine-toothed comb. Corruption must be rooted out and conflicts of interest disclosed.

The public deserves to know if public officials, elected and unelected, stand to benefit from the decisions they make — and how likely they are to abuse the power and taxpayer resources we entrust in their care.

Catherine Rampell's email address is crampell@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter, @crampell.