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Elizabeth Warren Reacts To Director Of Office Of Government Ethics' Resignation - "Deeply Unnerving"

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is bemoaning the decision of the nation’s top ethics official to step down, The Hill reported.

“Walter Shaub's announcement that he is resigning as the head of the Office of Government Ethics is deeply unnerving,” the Massachusetts Democrat said Thursday. She cited Shaub’s reputation for putting the “law first” and confronting “ethics problems at every level of the Trump administration.”

“The Senate is responsible for confirming the new head of this post-Watergate ethics watchdog, and every senator — regardless of party — should insist upon a tough, fiercely independent replacement who will follow Shaub's example of enforcing the law, even in the face of relentless pressure from the Trump administration to ignore ethics rules,” Warren said in a written statement.

Shaub had numerous conflicts with the White House, especially when he argued that Trump’s business entanglements around the globe presented conflicts of interest for his administration. The director, who plans to leave the OGE July 19 even though six months remain in his term, tweeted the text of the letter that he sent to the president. “The great privilege and honor of my career has been to lead OGE’s staff and the community of ethics officials in the federal executive branch,” Shaub wrote. “They are committed to protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.”

According to The Hill, Shaub is known for his bipartisan approach to enforcing government ethics regulations. His tenure at the OGE began during the George W. Bush administration and continued under Presidents Obama and Trump.

The Washington Post reported that Shaub repeatedly advised Trump to divest from his companies. The director did not specifically address the issue in his resignation letter. However, he wrote that OGE staffers are committed to “protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain.”

Shaub claimed he was not under pressure to resign, though he had become unpopular in the West Wing. “It’s clear that there isn’t more I could accomplish,” he said. Shaub is to become senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization. He pledged to seek bipartisan ways to tighten ethics rules in federal and state governments. “In working with the current administration, it has become clear that we need to strengthen the ethics program,” he told the Post.

The administration had little to say about the director’s decision to step down. “The White House accepts Mr. Shaub’s resignation and appreciates his service,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said. She told reporters that Trump will name a new OGE chief “in short order.” The office, established in 1978, “is designed to promote and protect laws intended to prevent conflicts of interest by government officials,” according to the Post.

Shelley K. Finlayson, as the OGE’s chief of staff, is a leading contender to succeed Shaub. However, Trump could choose to appoint no one and leave the director position open.

Source: The Hill
Photo: The Hill Screenshot

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