Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are pushing for the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to demand copies of any waivers of ethics rules allowing former lobbyists to work in the Trump administration.
Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, spearheaded a letter signed by every Democrat on the panel, arguing the waivers directly contradict President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp.” The committee sent their letter to OGE Director Walter Shaub Monday.
While Trump signed an executive order banning former lobbyists from working with past clients — much like the executive order former President Barack Obama signed — it omits language specifying whether the administration’s waivers are required to be publicly disclosed.
“On January 28, 2017, President Trump repealed the executive order issued by President Obama that had established robust ethics requirements for appointees,” Cummings wrote. “As a replacement, President Trump issued his own executive order. As you have noted the new executive order ‘lacks a transparency provision’ that was in President Obama’s executive order.”
The Oversight Democrats alleged the Trump administration is failing to meet their obligation to prevent and disclose any potential conflicts of interest.
“It is critical that you and your office make transparent how the individuals serving in the Trump Administration are complying, or failing to comply, with President Trump’s executive order and other ethics requirements,” the letter reads. “Your role is particularly important because the White House itself is keeping this information secret.”
The Democrats call follows reports that Director of the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney sent a letter to Shaub — an Obama appointee serving out the final year of his position — questioning the legality behind OGE’s request.
“This data call appears to raise legal questions regarding the scope of O.G.E.’s authorities,” the letter obtained by The New York Times said. “I therefore request that you stay the data call until these questions are resolved.”
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