Ethics director expresses ‘great concern’ over Trump Cabinet confirmations before reviews

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Ethics director expresses ‘great concern’ over Trump Cabinet confirmations before reviews

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics, or OGE, has expressed concern about the speed with which many of Donald Trump’s nominees are set to have confirmation hearings without securing a full ethics clearance, reports Politico.

NPR is reporting that some hearings have been scheduled to begin before the inauguration “so that they can be voted on and sworn in as soon as possible after Trump takes office on January 20.”

These include the president-elect’s nominees for Attorney General and the heads of Homeland Security, Secretary of State, Education, and Transportation, among others.

However, NPR has posted a letter written to Senators Charles Schumer and Elizabeth Warren by OGE Director Walter Shaub who calls this preemptive activity a “great concern.”

In the document, dated January 6, he says that “This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews. More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings.”

He then describes the need for receiving financial disclosure reports from these nominees and explains that the review process is complex and requires time.

Shaub ultimately says, “It would…be cause for alarm if the Senate were to go forward with hearings on nominees whose reports OGE has not certified.”

He then concludes by writing, that “…OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials will not succumb to pressure to cut corners and ignore conflicts of interest.”

MSNBC also reportedly obtained emails through the Freedom of Information Act which showed that Shaub has tried to reach out to the Trump team and warn them about the dangers of proceeding without these ethics clearances.

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