White House freed for business conflicts as usual

Shaub has clashed repeatedly with President Trump's administration

Shaub has clashed repeatedly with President Trump's administration

Walter Shaub Jr., director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, announced Thursday he would resign, following a rocky relationship with President Trump and repeated confrontations with the administration.

Shaub, an attorney by trade, will next join the Campaign Legal Center, a non-profit and non-partisan group that supports enforcement of US campaign finance laws. In explaining his decision to take on this new role, Shaub explained: "It has become clear to me that we need improvements to the existing ethics program".

"I look forward to working toward that aim at Campaign Legal Center, as well as working on ethics reforms at all levels of government".

Shaub did not detail in his letter exactly why he is leaving his post at the OGE, but hinted to National Public Radio Thursday that it has something to do with the Trump administration.

The Trump Administration made Shaub's job much more hard after January 20. "Divestiture is good for you, good for America!"

In January, Newsweek reported that Shaub spoke at the Brookings Institution and said President Donald Trump's plan to avoid conflicts of interest "doesn't meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the past four decades has met".

Trump's plan involved moving his business interests into a trust run by his two oldest sons and a longtime business associate. The Trump trust, according to Shaub, "isn't even halfway blind". "And, of course, he knows what he owns".

The Office of Government Ethics is a small agency with only about 70 employees.

In May, for example, Mike Dubke stepped down as the White House's communications director after only a few months on the job.

The OGE does not have any ability or authority to enforce ethics rules, but merely provide guidance for federal government employees. "The OGE has a strong career staff", Fox says, "and it has gone through extensive periods of time with a career person...as acting director".

But Shaub, a Barack Obama appointee who joined the ethics office as an attorney under the George W. Bush administration, struggled to connect with the Trump transition team after the election. His term was set to expire next year. His last day at OGE will be July 19. The agency must work with a new administration that has been hiring unprecedented numbers of former lobbyists, lawyers and industry consultants.

Shaub's office also tussled with the White House over the release of ethics waivers the administration had given its staff. After Mr. Shaub fired back with a stern 10-page letter shooting down the argument, the White House backed down.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

The agency does not have disciplinary power in the executive branch- it can only recommend actions for the White House to take.

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