Ethics Office Must Remain Independent of White House
Walt Shaub, senior director, ethics at Campaign Legal Center released the following statement on reports about the decision by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to reverse policy related to gifts to legal defense funds:
“OGE abandoned its 1993 opinion endorsing anonymous donations just months after issuing it. For the past 23 years, OGE has viewed anonymous donations as inappropriate. It’s not entirely clear why OGE quietly removed a warning that the opinion is invalid. In response to the negative media attention this unpublicized reversal generated, the White House was forced to concede last night that anonymous donations are inappropriate.
It’s a shame that OGE’s acting Director took us down this road, and it’s an even greater shame that the White House is handling OGE’s media relations on this critical issue, given the importance of OGE remaining independent from the White House and serving as the ethics watchdog for the executive branch, not the White House Counsel’s lapdog.”