Congressman Chaffetz Threatens Head of Office of Government Ethics Over Trump Comments

Conflicts of interest arise in the private sector all the time, but those involving government employees and officials get the press. What is to be avoided is someone being in a position where a decision can be made that either benefits the employer or the individual. Ethics guidelines and rules are supposed to reduce this possibility, and the Office of Government Ethics is the agency within the federal government that is tasked with investigating ethics violations.

But what happens if that office is found to be lacking in ethics? We get a situation like this.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, criticized the director of the federal Office of Government Ethics on Thursday over his criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to address conflicts of interest. And he threatened to subpoena the official, Walter Shaub, if he refuses to participate in an official interview.

“He seems to be acting prematurely at best, without doing investigations or thorough looks,” Chaffetz said in an interview. “He’s rendering opinions publicly that really cause you to scratch your head. We need the Office of Government Ethics to act ethically. Ironically, that’s not what they’re doing.”

Shaub, an appointee of President Barack Obama, has been a frequent critics of the incoming administration’s ethics plans, peaking Wednesday when he called Trump’s newly unveiled conflicts of interest policy “meaningless.”

So, is Shaub an independent arbiter or a vehicle for venting Democratic anger at Trump? If it's the latter, the head of the government ethics office has an ethics problem himself that has not been helped by his refusal to meet with the House Oversight Committee.

Chaffetz said Shaub has refused since the election to agree to a meeting to discuss matters related to OGE’s public remarks about Trump, as well as the Republican-led panel’s plans to pass language reauthorizing the office. If Shaub continues to resist, Chaffetz said he’d issue a subpoena “if we have to.”

“He is coming in. This is not going to be an optional exercise,” Chaffetz said, adding that he expected a meeting within a few weeks.

With his extensive holdings, Mr. Trump certainly has the possibility of being placed in situations where there could be conflicts of interest if proper protections are not put in place. Mr. Trump claims that he is creating just those safeguards and has been making those plans public. If Shaub is offering scathing opinions before reviewing what Trump is doing, then it is he with the ethics problem.

By the way, has Shaub ever heard of an organization called The Clinton Foundation?

Source: Politico



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