image Jason Chaffetz

House Republicans attack ethics officials over Trump conflicts of interest


House Republicans have attempted to intimidate ethics officials after failing to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3) has requested the head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Shaub Jr., to appear before the committee to answer questions about recent statements regarding President-Elect Donald Trump. The Office of Government Ethics has been critical of President-elect Trump’s potential conflicts of interest.

The website for the Office of Government Ethics crashed due to high volume after it tweeted a reminder that executive branch employees should refrain from misuse of their position.

The tweet is suspected to be in response to a tweet by Donald Trump encouraging people to “Buy L.L. Bean.”

Walter Shaub said Trump’s plan to distance himself from his business interest was “wholly inadequate.” Mr. Shuab also stated, “I don’t think divestiture is too high a price to pay to be President of the United States of America.” Congressman Chaffetz questioned Mr. Shaub’s ethics: “I’m concerned that the person in charge of our office of ethics is not the most ethical person.”

Image Walter Shaub

Walter Shaub (Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

Despite urging by House Democrats, Congressman Chaffetz has not looked into any issues of conflicts of interest regarding Donald Trump. Ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) stated, “The Oversight Committee has not held one hearing, conducted one interview, or obtained one document about President-elect Donald Trump’s massive global entanglements, yet it is now apparently rushing to launch an investigation of the key government official for warning against the risks caused by President-elect Donald Trump’s current plans.”

(D-NY) highlighted repeated attempts by House Republicans to attack ethics committees.

With just days before in Presidential inauguration, questions continue to prevail between ethics officials and President-elect Trump as he has yet to clarify how he will divest himself from business dealings.

J. David Thompson, Lima Charlie News

J David Thompson (US Army) is a Juris Doctor candidate at Washington & Lee University School of Law focusing on International Human Rights Law. He is a Veterans in Global Leadership Fellow, and brings experience on human rights, international relations, strengthening civil society, refugee issues, interagency collaboration, and countering violent extremism. Prior to Washington & Lee, he served in the US Army as a Military Police officer and Special Operations Civil Affairs with multiple deployments to Afghanistan and one to Jordan—receiving a Bronze Star amongst other decorations. In Jordan, David worked at the US Embassy in countering violent extremism, strengthening civil society, and refugee response with other United States Government organizations, the United Nations, and various non-governmental organizations.

Follow David on Twitter | @JDThompsonLC 

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