Watchdog group demands release of Whitaker’s financial disclosures

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Watchdog group American Oversight is calling for acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s financial disclosures to be made public. 

“Transparency is a critical component of the government ethics program,” wrote the group’s executive director, Austin Evers, in a letter on Friday to Emory Rounds in the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

Evers pointed to the financial disclosure provisions of the Ethics in Government Act, which he said “facilitate transparency regarding potential financial conflicts of interest” by requiring the public financial disclosure of senior government officials within 30 days of them assuming office, in most cases.

{mosads}At most, according to Evers, an appointee has 120 days from taking office to file the disclosures.

“Matthew Whitaker was reportedly appointed Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on October 4, 2017. As a non-career Senior Executive Service appointee at the Department of Justice, Mr. Whitaker is a required public filer,” Evers wrote, saying that the last possible date for Whitaker to file was Feb. 1, 2018. 

“In light of his recent appointment as Acting Attorney General, American Oversight requested that the Department of Justice provide access to the two public financial disclosure reports that Mr. Whitaker was required to file as a new entrant and incumbent in a covered position.”

He wrote that the Department of Justice “has not yet permitted inspection or furnished a copy of these public financial disclosure reports.”

Evers added that it is “quite troubling” that Whitaker’s records have not been made public sooner. 

“We strongly urge OGE to undertake an investigation regarding the status of Mr. Whitaker’s public disclosure reports and to take steps to promote appropriate transparency and public awareness regarding his potential conflicts of interest.”

Trump sparked controversy by naming Whitaker to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Whitaker, who served as Sessions’s chief of staff, has criticized the special counsel’s Russia investigation and said the probe, which he now oversees, could be undercut by limiting its funding.

Tags Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker American Oversight financial disclosures Jeff Sessions President Trump
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