Trump moves to block ethics inquiry centered on ex-lobbyists

Every administration issues waivers to allow lobbyists to work in the executive office or in the federal agencies, but previous ones have announced the waivers with explanations and intervened if agencies refused to divulge such information to OGE, The Times reported.

In his letter to Shaub last Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget chief Mick Mulvaney asked for more time to address "legal questions regarding the scope of OGE's authorities", but never specified what those questions actually were. The request was made by Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics.

The Trump administration is trying to block the disclosure of the names of former lobbyists who have obtained waivers to work at the White House.

"It challenges the very authority of the director of the agency and his ability to carry out the functions of the office", former White House counsel and one-time acting director at OGE tells the Times.

The rule against such appointments stems from an executive order President Trump signed in January to limit lobbyists joining government - similar to one signed by former President Barack Obama in 2009 - but the Trump administration has "hired them at a much higher rate than the previous administration", the Times notes. But, without any insight into how, why, when, and to whom waivers in the rules are issued, Trump's ban is all loophole.

Get ready for the first seven words of this New York Times headline-"White House moves to block ethics inquiry"-to become very familiar over the coming months and years". Shaub and several Democratic lawmakers have taken issue with the number of former lobbyists who are now working inside the White House and across the federal government.

Chaffetz expects to talk to Comey: House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says he expects to speak Monday with former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, as lawmakers look into the extent his firing was related to an investigation of Russia's ties with President Trump's associates.

"'Trust us' is not a sufficient answer from any White House, particularly the Trump White House", said Ryan.

President Donald Trump's administration will not comply with the request from the Office of Government Ethics that it claims is politically motivated until it receives further legal guidance, a statement Sunday said. "I therefore request that you stay the data call until these questions are resolved".

"It is an extraordinary thing", he said. However, to enforce compliance would require cooperation from a reticent White House with which Shaub and the OGE have already tussled. "Our executive branch ethics program is considered the gold standard internationally and has served as a model for the world".

  • Leroy Wright