OGE has Authority to Review Ethics Waivers


Trump Administration attacks transparency in its improper challenge to OGE authority

Reports today indicate President Donald Trump’s administration is attempting to prevent the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) from requesting copies of waivers containing information about exemptions granted to former lobbyists, now serving in the administration. The administration adopted the rule – which now has the force of law – prohibiting lobbyists joining the administration from working on matters that involved their former clients. But now, by blocking review of waivers to that rule, the administration is seeking to prevent oversight of their own policy.

“We are witnessing a backslide of ethical standards as the administration attempts to remove critical oversight of the influence industry revolving door,” said Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC). “OGE and the public have a right to know if the lobbyists who are entering the administration are circumventing the administration’s own ethics executive order. The administration’s attack on the OGE demonstrates a disregard for government ethics.”

The law – written into Title IV – expressly authorizes the director of OGE to seek whatever reports it thinks are appropriate from agencies.

In January, Trevor Potter spoke out about the problems created by the administration’s decision to discontinue President Obama’s policy of restricting lobbyists from entering the administration.