As news continues to come out regarding how Trump aides and the President himself have repeatedly engaged in unethical and outright dishonest behavior, many Americans have found themselves wondering why no disciplinary action has been taken. Besides for scapegoating Michael Flynn to avoid blame for connections to Russia and pulling Kellyanne Conway from television appearances due to her inability to give consistent answers, nobody has suffered any actual repressions for these dangerous and embarrassing gaffes.
That could all be about to change. The office that administers governmental ethics law, the Office of Government Ethics or OGE, has fired back at the Trump administration’s ridiculous claims that governmental ethics laws don’t apply to White House Staff. In an attempt to avoid any sort of punishment for their absurd and embarrassing violations of government ethics code, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign claimed the following:
“…many regulations promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) do not apply to employees of the Executive Office of the President, the Office of the White House Counsel has instructed all such employees to abide by 3 CFR 100.1 [the segment of ethics law that pertains to Executive Office employees.]”
Yes, you read that correctly: Trump’s White House has officially declared that they don’t believe that longstanding policies and precedents concerning ethics in government apply to them. If this seems ridiculous to you, you’re not alone: the director of the Office of Government Ethics completely disagreed with this claim, and fired back at Trump and his cronies. Walter Shaub, director of the OGE and a well-respected ethics lawyer, completely dismantled the Trump administration’s argument.
Specifically, Shaub pointed out that ethics law had never been interpreted as not applying to White House officials in the past, and absolutely destroyed the Trump spokesperson when he points out that absolutely no legal basis had been provided for this claim.
Furthermore, Shaub points out the obvious and more important fact that if behavior such as Kellyanne Conway’s blatantly unethical lies or promotion of Ivanka Trump’s brand is allowed to go unpunished, the Trump administration risks undermining the entire system of ethics that governs the behavior of American politicians. It’s bad enough that Trump and his kind have been embarrassing Americans abroad and making baseless and offensive remarks, but with this move, they represent tearing down some of the most important rules and guidelines in American government.
Shaub is hardly the first legal professional to go head to head with Trump, as a well-respected Republican appellate judge openly called for Trump’s impeachment last month. Constitutional lawyers have long had problems with Trump’s conflicts of interest, and Shaub’s objection to Trump’s blatant mishandling of ethics law is only the most recent of many issues brought to light by the legal community.
If you believe that everyone needs to be bound by the law, even the President of the United States and his cronies, please share this important article with your friends and family. By making people aware of exactly how flagrantly Trump is violating legal precedent, it’s possible that Democrats around the country can bring about his impeachment even faster than was ever though possible. Donald Trump must be held accountable for breaking and twisting the law, and it’s time Americans everywhere start taking him to task about it.