White House says it has granted 14 ethics waivers to staff
Michael Catanzaro, a former lobbyist for oil and gas, can help shape the Trump administration’s energy policy. Shahira Knight may weigh in on pension issues even though she has already worked for Fidelity, a financial company specializing in retirement services. The White House on Wednesday released on its website ethics exemptions granted to four former lobbyists and others who have joined the government. In all, the White House has obtained 14 exceptions to ethics.
The revelations came after a dispute between the Office of Government Ethics and White House lawyers. Other agencies and executive departments such as Treasury, State and Defense must share similar information with EMB by Thursday. The Office of Management and Budget responded to the EMB data request last week saying it had issued a zero waiver.
As part of Washington’s commitment to “drain the swamp,” President Donald Trump prohibits high-level officials involved in the executive from working on “special” government matters involving former clients or employers for two years. President Barack Obama has imposed similar restrictions on his employees and ethics granted waivers. The White House is also represented by these exceptions on its website.
Exceptions to the Trump administration include four former registered lobbies. The rest is for other employees whose new government functions can overlap with their previous private jobs. Many are “global” exceptions for groups of employees.
Exceptions to the White House were examined by White House lawyer Don McGahn and Stefan Passantino, leading ethics. The White House said this is just waivers if these lawyers consider it too embarrassing for the person to use ethical issues brought on by their previous jobs.
“Whenever possible, lawyers worked with each member of the team to reconcile adversarial behavior rather than seeking waivers, which resulted in the limited number of exceptions granted,” said Lindsay Walters head of White House spokeswoman.
Certain exceptions cover the most important employees of the White House. For example, there is a “general” waiver which indicates that all presidential persons “may participate in communications and meetings with news organizations relating to general issues.” This opens the way, ethics, Steve Bannon, former CEO Breitbart and now head of strategy for Trump, remind reporters on the news site.
This is important because Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group funded by transparency liberals who filed numerous complaints against the Trump administration had argued in a complaint that Bannon violated ethics pledge to talk to their former employees. Another waiver explicitly allows Kellyanne Conway, Third Trump, to contact and interact with clients of her polling company.
Joshua Pitcock, who was the only lobby group in Washington and Indiana, now serving as Chief of Staff Vice President Mike Pence is authorized under a waiver to stay in the room when the problems involved are Indiana.
“It is important that you can communicate and know the state of Indiana, and disqualification from these meetings or communications would limit the ability of the Office of the Vice President to effectively realize the priorities of the administration,” said his resignation.