Chaffetz eyes ethics office critical of Trump
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) says he may probe a federal ethics official recently critical of President-elect Donald Trump.
Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), called Trump’s plan to separate himself from his business empire “meaningless” Wednesday.
The Utah lawmaker said in a separate interview with Politico Thursday, meanwhile, he would subpoena the government watchdog to appear before his committee “if we have to.”
“[Shaub] seems to be acting prematurely at best, without doing investigations or thorough looks,” Chaffetz said. “He’s rendering opinions publicly that really cause you to scratch your head.”
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee on Thursday asked Shaub, who was appointed by President Obama, to appear privately before the panel after he derided Trump.
“He is coming in,” Chaffetz said. “This is not going to be an optional exercise. We need the Office of Government Ethics to act ethically. Ironically, that’s not what they’re doing.”
Trump announced Wednesday he would hand control of his business interests to his two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.
The president-elect added he would place all of his assets in a trust, but stopped short of selling his company or real estate holdings.
Shaub blasted Trump’s solution for distance between his presidency and his business empire, calling it “wholly inadequate.”
“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,” he said during a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
Shaub and other critics have said Trump can only avoid conflicts of interest by fully divesting himself from his business ventures.