USA Office of Government Ethics warns that Trump is not above the law
A top government ethics watchdog on Thursday pushed back against White House claims that its employees are not subject to ethics rules that bind every other federal government official.
Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, told Stefan Passatino, President Donald Trump’s deputy counsel, that the claim has no basis in law or precedent.
Passatino’s “extraordinary assertion that ‘many’ of OGE’ s regulations are inapplicable to employees of the Executive Office of the President…is incorrect, and the letter cites no legal basis for it,” Shaub wrote in a Thursday letter.
The missive, the latest salvo between OGE and the White House, was in response to a Feb. 13 letter in which Passatino told Shaub that the White House was complying with some OGE rules even though it was not legally bound to do so.
“Many regulations promulgated by [OGE] do not apply to employees of the Executive Office of the President,” Passatino wrote.
OGE has been in frequent contact with Trump’s team since the election and over the first month his presidency to try to hammer out legal and administrative issues created by the president’s sizable wealth and accompanying conflicts of interest.
But Passatino’s statement went even further, and Shaub was adamant that it was legally unfounded and contradicted the practices of past White Houses.
“Presidential administrations have not considered it appropriate to challenge the applicability of ethics rules to the entire executive branch,” Shaub wrote. “It is critical to the public’s faith in the integrity of government that White House employees be held to the same standard of ethical accountability as other executive branch employees.”
Shaub also took aim at the White House’s apparent refusal to discipline a senior staffer for using her position to enrich a member of Trump’s family, even as it seemed to admit wrongdoing……http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/09/ethics-watchdog-to-white-house-you-re-not-above-the-law.html
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