LA Times: Trump's Ethics Office has blessed an unethical legal defense fund for the president's associates

Walter Shaub
Feb 9, 2018
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Under cover of last week's feverish reaction to the FBI memorandum released by Rep. Devin Nunes, the Office of Government Ethics quietly dumped documents revealing a new low point in the agency's 40-year history. In a letter signed Jan. 29th, but withheld from public view until the memo frenzy was peaking, the agency's Trump-appointed acting director, David Apol, blessed a shockingly permissive arrangement for funneling cash to White House appointees and others linked to Trump.

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Government-employee legal defense funds are not required to seek approval from the Office of Government Ethics. They do, however, because the office's blessing conveys legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and it may even give pause to investigators later on. Acting Director Apol's decision to bless the bizarre charter of the Patriot Fund is a heartbreaking breach of applicable laws and the executive branch's ethical norms.

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