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Departing Ethics Chief Slams Trump Admin for Creating "Ethics Crisis"

by Countable | 7.24.17

What’s the story?

In an exclusive interview with the New York Times, departing director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Walter Shaub, Jr. suggested that the U.S. is "pretty close to a laughingstock at this point" and called for extensive changes to the federal government’s ethics program.

Why does it matter?

Since before the inauguration Shaub, who resigned his post effective Tuesday, has clashed with the administration over ethics issues. He maintains that the Trump administration has created an "ethics crisis" that needs to be addressed with a variety of reforms. His replacement will have to be approved by the Senate. However, it is the leadership of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who have offered to meet with Shaub to discuss his recommendations.

Some recommendations are likely to be widely supported and easily instituted. Some? Not so much. On the "easy" list are: making the Director of the OGE only removable with cause and upon 30-day notice to congress, and making all 4,000 political appointees in the government subject to the same rules regarding ethics agreements and conflicts of interest.

Slightly more difficult to institute will likely be granting the OGE limited subpoena power to ensure compliance with ethics rules, allowing the OGE to submit budget requests direct to Congress instead of through the Office of Management and Budget, require all federal employees to disclose assets placed in trusts as well as all business liabilities and debts in interests they control.

The hardest sell? Requiring all presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns to the Federal Election Commission and file them with the Office of Government Ethics. President Trump did not disclose his tax returns, and he intends to run in 2020 one could anticipate him objecting to this rule change. Currently, they must only comply with a more limited financial disclosure.

What can you do?

Do you support any or all of Shaub’s recommendations to expand the federal government’s ethics program? Are you concerned about ethical issues with the current administration?

Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit:USDA via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(93)
  • Kelly
    07/24/2017
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    I strongly support all of Shaub's ethics recommendations. I think a more transparent government will lead to stronger ethics, which this administration, and others, could benefit from. I also think ethics rules are useless without enforcement. The OGE needs subpoena power or its rules are laughable.

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  • Katherine
    07/24/2017
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    I am very concerned about ethics violations in the Trump administration!

    Like (31)
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  • Ray
    07/24/2017
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    I support Shaub’s recommendations to expand the federal government’s ethics program. I am concerned about ethical issues with the current administration. As we all should be.

    Like (15)
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  • Noah
    07/24/2017
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    I support any expansion of ethics authorities, including the power to subpoena. We need more transparency on capital hill, and we need to see trumps full tax returns.

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  • Mancos
    07/24/2017
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    I recall asking Senator Cory Gardner if he had any concern about the lack of ethics displayed by this administration months ago. Guess what, no reply! When is Congress going to wake up?

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  • Heidi
    07/24/2017
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    When you have an administration that clearly does not value ethics or morals and has zero integrity or accountability, it is no surprise that we are in crisis. How do we fix it? This is the only question that truly matters

    Like (14)
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  • Aqil
    07/25/2017
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    Vote out republicans before they destroy all of us and the country.

    Like (11)
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  • Toni
    07/25/2017
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    We are, indeed, in an ethics crisis. People who voted for the current administration claim they did so in order to "drain the swamp", which has become laughable. Please vote in favor of ethics reform!

    Like (9)
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  • Becka
    07/24/2017
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    Hello, I strongly support outgoing ethics chief recommendations for stronger ethics, including making sure that the presidential candidates (and presidents!) need to disclose their tax returns! Iwould really like to see some oversight and some protection for the American people from what we are dealing with right now. thank you very much

    Like (8)
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  • Nancy
    07/25/2017
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    Ethics with this administration appears to be nonexistent so I do agree that this is an area needing action. Also, the President should not be allowed to pass over qualified & knowledgeable candidates to place someone who will do whatever he wants when his desires do not follow U.S. ethics guidelines. This is a frustrating and ad situation!

    Like (7)
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  • Marc
    07/24/2017
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    Loss of ethics is a first step to criminal behavior. Ethics reform should be proposed with some teeth to bolster conformance.

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  • Leo
    07/24/2017
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    We are not close to a laughingstock, we are a laughingstock!

    Like (7)
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  • KansasTamale
    07/25/2017
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    Expansion of ethics authorities is a must, including the power to subpoena. More transparency is a MUST on capital hill, and we need to see Trump'sfull tax returns.

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  • BeStrong
    07/24/2017
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    The irony of this latest resignation cannot be lost. When is enough ... enough.

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  • Peggy
    07/25/2017
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    Trump does things by his own code and none of it is ethical. I cringe at what example he is showing to the younger generation. It seems to be the new normal and acceptable. Yes, I strongly support building a stronger over sight and bring back a government that, even if we don't agree with them, we can at least respect and trust them to be honest and lead by example.

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  • Kimberly
    07/24/2017
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    We need strong Ethic's in government.

    Like (6)
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  • Katharine
    07/25/2017
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    I totally agree with Schaub's recommendations!! We definitely have an 'ethics crisis'. Can't believe what Pres Trump gets away with. There needs to be more financial transparency when it comes to our political representatives.

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  • Sherrie
    07/25/2017
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    We must have ethics in our government. Stand up for the country

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  • JayFeat
    07/24/2017
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    Déjà vu anyone?

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  • Diane
    07/24/2017
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    We don't need less ethics in government. We need more.

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