U.S. government ethics chief resigns, with parting shot at Trump

The Guardian reports: The top ethics watchdog in the federal government announced his resignation on Thursday, taking a parting shot at Donald Trump as he did so.

Walter Shaub, head of the independent Office of Government Ethics (OGE), said in his resignation letter to Trump that he would step down in mid-July, six months before the end of his term, in order to take a job at the Campaign Legal Center, a not-for-profit good-government group.

Leading the OGE had been “the great privilege and honor of my career”, he wrote.

In a separate statement from the center, Shaub said: “In working with the current administration, it has become clear to me that we need improvements to the existing ethics program. I look forward to working toward that aim at Campaign Legal Center, as well as working on ethics reforms at all levels of government.”

Shaub is a longtime federal bureaucrat who was appointed to the OGE by Barack Obama in 2013 and confirmed by a voice vote in the US Senate.

Since Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, Shaub has strongly criticized the president over his failure to divest from his business holdings, saying he was “extremely troubled” that Trump simply turned over his investments to his two oldest sons.

Shaub also clashed with the White House over whether lobbyists working in the Trump administration should have to disclose ethics waivers, and over aide Kellyanne Conway’s controversial suggestion that Americans should buy products sold by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.

In his resignation letter, he also took one more opportunity to goad Trump on his approach to government ethics policies, putting in italics “public service is a public trust” – the first of 14 principles of public service promulgated by George HW Bush in a 1989 executive order.

OGE staff, he wrote, were “committed to protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gains”. [Continue reading…]

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