Trump Administration Fights to Ethical Scrutiny

In Conflict of Interest, Governing and the Cabinet, Uncategorized On
- Updated

It takes a serious commitment to incompetence and deception to spawn as many ethical and legal concerns as the Trump administration has in just four months. The misbehavior by White House officials in the past few days has been impressive even by Trumpian standards. They’ve tried to raise doubts about the independence of the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. And they’ve stonewalled efforts by the Office of Government Ethics to identify conflicts of interest in the administration.

Take first the ethics issue. In January, Mr. Trump signed an executive order banning appointees who had been lobbyists or lawyers from working on policy or regulatory issues they were once paid to influence, for two years. Unfortunately, that order allowed the president or a designee to secretly waive these restrictions. In the Obama administration, any such waivers were made public, with a detailed explanation. Otherwise, it would be impossible for the public to know who was violating the lobbying rules, and who received permission to ignore them.

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