Breaking: Head of US Office of Government Ethics Resigns in Pointed Letter to Trump


'Public Service Is a Public Trust'

The head of the United States Office of Government Ethics who has repeatedly tangled with the Trump administration, is resigning. Walter Shaub, an attorney who has served under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, tendered his resignation in a rather pointed letter.

He called heading the OGE the "great privilege and honor of my career," and noted the staff at the Office of Government Ethics "are committed to protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ehtical principles above private gain."

That was a thinly-veiled message to Trump, whose administration has been under Shaub's microscope.

"In May, the White House positioned itself to block the disclosure by the ethics office of ethics waivers granted to dozens of former lobbyists now working in the White House, according to a New York Times report," CBS News reports. "The Trump administration sent Shaub a letter challenging his authority to request copies of waivers. In response, Shaub said, 'I have never seen anything like it,' and according to the Times, he did not intend to comply."

Shaub won't be leaving Washington, nor will he be giving up any opportunities to investigate Trump.

"Walter M. Shaub, Jr., director of the United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE), will join Campaign Legal Center (CLC) as Senior Director, Ethics, beginning on July 19," the CLC a nonpartisan ethics watchdog group said Thursday in a statement.

"I have had the honor and privilege of serving the American public at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under three presidents - George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump," said Shaub. "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."

Even before Trump was sworn in Shaub issued warnings about the incoming president's actions. He denounced the Trump transition team's plan to have the Senate hold confirmation hearings on Trump's nominees before the Office of Government Ethics had vetted the picks. Trump called the OGE's insistence it vet his nominees "a disservice to the country."

In early January Shaub publicly denounced Trump's efforts, or lack thereof, to distance himself from his businesses:

And after Kellyanne Conway gave a "free commercial" for Ivanka Trump's clothing line on Fox News, Shaub's office recommended disciplinary action. The White House made clear there would be none, leaving Shaub to publicly denounce the decision.

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