Center for Public Integrity: Ethics experts say Trump administration far from normal


President Donald Trump’s young administration has already sharply diverged from the ethical norms that typically govern the executive branch, exposing vulnerabilities in the system, a small group of ethics experts and former government officials agreed Saturday. The consensus emerged at a panel titled “Trump, Ethics and the Law” at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Texas.


Ethics laws are based on the idea that norms will be followed, said Walter Shaub, former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

“When they’re not followed, we suddenly discover how completely vulnerable our system is,” Shaub said.

For example, Shaub said that before he resigned from OGE in July, he had to fight to get his hands on financial disclosures for President Trump’s appointees.

“We didn’t have the chance to resolve conflicts of interest and the White House ethics officials not only didn’t want to fulfil their responsibilities in support of ethics, they didn’t know how,” Shaub said.

Shuab said he didn’t feel able to confidently sign off on some financial disclosure reports. Since resigning, he has become senior director of ethics for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan legal advocacy group.

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