People can be excused for thinking that using the word “government” and “ethics” in the same sentence just cannot be done. After all, we’ve spent years experiencing the corruption that attaches to everything associated with Hillary Clinton. But to be fair, this cynicism regarding ethics in government has far more sources that just the Clintons. To argue otherwise would be to give them a position of significance they do not deserve, however infamous that position might be.
Unfortunately, conflicts of interest remain a possibility whenever someone possesses significant government power unless very careful safeguards are put in place. If not, government officials will find themselves making decisions based on their own personal benefit as opposed to what is best for the nation.
Donald Trump must be especially careful in this regard. He has enormous business and financial holdings, and it would be easy for him to enrich himself further by acting in ways that benefit his holdings. Fortunately, he is taking actions to reduce that possibility and is publishing what he is doing for public inspection. Unfortunately, one government regulator is making the entire project much more difficult. And this Congressman plans to correct this regulator’s problem.
You might find it surprising that there is a United States Office of Government Ethics. After all, this is a case of the government policing the government, and with political players involved, it’s no sure thing that this is going to work. And true to your suspicions, it’s not working well at the moment.
The head of this agency has attacked Trump’s plans to eliminate potential conflicts of interest, apparently without thoroughly reviewing them first. In fact we find that, “Recently Walter Shaub, the director of the federal Office of Government Ethics, called Trump’s backing away from his businesses ‘meaningless.’”
Congressman Jason Chaffetz will have none of this. He is the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee and will use that position to secure accountability and cooperation from Mr. Shaub even if that requires that Chaffetz have him subpoenaed.
Chaffetz points out the problems he has with Mr. Shaub: “’He seems to be acting prematurely at best, without doing investigations or thorough looks,’ Chaffetz said in an interview. ‘He’s rendering opinions publicly that really cause you to scratch your head. We need the Office of Government Ethics to act ethically. Ironically, that’s not what they’re doing.’”
What else about Mr. Shaub has Chaffetz upset? “’We need a fair person behind the plate that’s going to call balls and strikes,’ Chaffetz said. ‘What they’re supposed to do is help work with somebody to comply with the ethics requirements. But when you talk publicly about private conversations, that’s not ethical. And when you refuse to come in and talk to the committee when you’re doing reauthorization, when you start tweeting and issuing press statements on things you never looked at, that shouldn’t be the case at all.’”
So we have the head of the Office of Government Ethics acting in an unethical way. Perhaps that comes as no surprise, especially when you learn that Shaub was appointed to that position by Barack Obama. So he ought to know about conflicts of interest.
Source: Yes I’m Right