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Friday, May 26, 2017

The swamp deepens

"I have never seen anything like it.”
A quote that could have come from almost anyone in Washington these days, but it happens to be from Walter Shaub, the head of the Office for Government Ethics. Mr. Shaub tells The New York Times he wants to know the names of former lobbyists who are now working in federal agencies or the White House. Team Trump says no. And the swamp deepens...

White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll

The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose the names of former lobbyists who have been granted waivers to work in the White House or federal agencies.
The latest conflict came in recent days when the White House, in a highly unusual move, sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers. In the letter, the administration challenged his legal authority to demand the information.
Dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers are working in the Trump administration, which has hired them at a much higher rate than the previous administration. Keeping the waivers confidential would make it impossible to know whether any such officials are violating federal ethics rules or have been given a pass to ignore them.
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Marilyn L. Glynn, who served as general counsel and acting director of the agency during the George W. Bush administration, called the move by the Trump White House “unprecedented and extremely troubling.”

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