Office of Government Ethics wants copies of Trump appointees' waivers

Office of Government Ethics wants copies of Trump appointees' waivers
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The Office of Government Ethics has asked the Trump administration for copies of any waivers it issued that may have granted appointees exemptions from ethics rules, according to an ABC News report.

The independent government watchdog wrote a letter to the White House and the heads of agencies under the authority of the executive branch requesting the information by June 1. 

The White House has the power to grant ethics waivers to the president’s appointees. 

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The Obama administration took similar actions, but did so "under a narrow set of circumstances,” Walter Shaub, the Office of Government Ethics' director, told ABC News. The OGE would also publicly post the waiver grant exceptions on its website during the Obama administration.

The ethics office is an independent organization charged with monitoring whether the executive branch complies with set ethics rules. 

The organization raised alarm earlier this year about possible conflicts of interest when President Trump refused to fully divest from his businesses upon taking office.

The OGE has been working with the White House to ensure officials do not become entangled in ethics violations by appearing to use their public position for private gain.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that the White House had “secretly issued” exemption waivers to officials at least twice so far.

One person granted a waiver is reportedly Michael Catanzaro, the president’s top energy adviser, who previously worked as a lobbyist for both oil and gas companies. The Times reports that in his current role, he advises on issues that could directly impact his former clients. 

The White House did not immediately respond to ABC's request for comment.