Committee Launches Investigation into Trump Administration’s Secret Ethics Waivers
Washington, D.C. (May 16, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent letters to the White House and 24 agencies requesting information about the Trump Administration’s use of waivers to allow political appointees to continue working on matters they worked on before entering government.
On April 28, 2017, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) issued a directive requiring all agencies—including the White House—to provide documents about ethics waivers given to political appointees and the process for issuing these waivers under Executive Order 13770.
Unfortunately, OGE reported that the White House “never provided OGE or made available to the public signed or dated copies” of many of these waivers and “did not fully respond to OGE’s follow-up questions.”
Although the White House committed to providing information on ethics waivers on its website, the documents that have been posted lack vital information, including in some cases which political appointees have received certain ethics waivers.
“The waiver certifications on the White House website do not provide information about when they were signed and became effective, who signed them, or the time period for which the waivers are effective,” Cummings wrote. “In other instances, the waiver certifications on the White House website note the issuance of a blanket waiver to a class of appointees, but do not provide details about the specific appointees covered by the waiver.”
The Committee requested copies of all waivers issued by the White House that permit political appointees to participate in official action despite potential conflicts of interest, as well as information about employees who meet the definition of “appointee” under Executive Order 13770 who served in the Executive Office of the President or any of the 24 agencies since January 20, 2017.
Click here to read today’s letter to the White House.
Click here to read today’s letters to the 24 federal agencies.