White House grants 14 ethics waivers to staff

We learned in April that Donald Trump's White House has hired several lobbyists, lawyers, and consultants who are now crafting policies "for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck".

Walter Shaub, director of the office of government ethics questioned the validity of the waivers and said they was no legal option for retroactive exemptions given to government officials.

"No one has believed for months that this president or his administration had any interest in ethics, but these waivers make clear the remarkable extent to which they are comfortable mixing their own personal interests with the country's", Bookbinder added.

The answer is spelled out in the new documents: They obtained waivers. Over Mr. Obama's eight years in office, about 16 waivers were granted for White House officials ... "Those who received waivers are in compliance with their ethical obligations".

Still, there is some evidence that the administration is anxious about Trump's credibility on draining the swamp, at least when it comes to transparency. The release of the waivers, spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement, is "part of the president's commitment to the American people to be transparent". "It also increases the ability to monitor compliance by individual appointees".

"There is no such thing as a retroactive waiver", Shaub said in an interview.

Outside ethics experts also spotlighted concerns.

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However, ethics watchdogs do not agree with the White House's position on the matter.

Michael Catanzaro, a former oil and gas lobbyist, can help shape the Trump administration's energy policies.

In related news, David Urban - who is best known for making Trump the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania since 1988 - has registered 18 new clients with his lobbying firm American Continental Group in this year, according to a report by Bloomberg. The administration has ethics rules to prevent this from happening, but Team Trump quietly issued waivers, allowing officials to ignore the rules. In the past, she has represented various pro-life groups, the National Rifle Association and Citizens United, the conservative nonprofit.

Some of those who received waivers included high-profile staffers such as Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, and Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff. Conway was granted an exemption to "participate in communications and meetings involving former clients which are political, advocacy, trade, or non-profit organizations" for her polling firm, The Polling Company. Before joining the White House, Bannon led Breitbart, the ultra-nationalist right-wing news site, and his level of involvement with the site after joining the administration has been the subject of some debate. "It leaves us unable to evaluate if the waiver was issued before or after you engaged in conduct that would otherwise be prohibited".

The waiver gives him permission to work with state officials on a number of issues, including refugee policy, opioid abuse issues and tax reform. His waiver allows him to work on issues that IN has interests IN including health care and environmental policy. Carter was later appointed secretary of defense.

The waivers allow those covered under them to be exempt from some of the restrictions imposed by Trump's executive order on ethics, which he signed just days after taking office.

  • Alfonso Moody