Oversight panel requests interview with ethics chief who criticized Trump's business plan

Oversight panel requests interview with ethics chief who criticized Trump's business plan
© Getty
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee have asked the Office of Government Ethics director to appear privately before the panel after he criticized President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE’s plans to draw lines with his business empire.

A GOP committee aide confirmed lawmakers have requested a closed-door, transcribed interview with Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Director Walter Shaub to discuss legislation reauthorizing the office. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Shaun’s recent criticism of Trump’s plans to avoid conflicts of interest while serving as president could come up in the closed-door interview.

 
The aide noted that lawmakers will likely have questions about the office's public interactions, including how it releases guidance. 
 
The Wall Street Journal first reported the requested interview. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, asked Chaffetz to convene a public hearing next week to hear from Shaub about Trump’s potential conflicts of interest.

“I believe it is imperative that Director [Shaub] be permitted to testify in public - before the American people - to avoid any perception that he is being unfairly targeted behind closed doors for expressing his views," Cummings wrote in a Thursday letter. "Protecting those who speak truth to power is one of this Committee’s core values and purposes, and we should fully support government officials charged with increasing transparency and ethical governance when they provide independent advice that is based on the law.” 

Trump announced at his first press conference since July on Wednesday that he’ll transfer management of his business to his two eldest sons. The Trump Organization will no longer strike any foreign business deals while Trump is president, and an ethics adviser will have to sign off on any new domestic deals, among other plans.

Shaub, an Obama appointee, said that Trump’s plan is “wholly inadequate” and “meaningless.” Ethics experts have called on Trump to sell his assets and place them in a blind trust, neither of which Trump plans to do.

“The plan the president-elect has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the last four decades have met,” Shaub said during a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. 

"Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective," he said. 

Sheri Dillon, an attorney for the president-elect, argued during the press conference that selling Trump’s assets would create even more possible conflicts.