20 Groups + Ethics Experts Tell Hse. Oversight Comm. Chairman Chaffetz: Hands off the Office of Government Ethics

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Daniel Schuman, 202-792-4550 daniel@demandprogress.org

20 Groups + Ethics Experts Tell Hse. Oversight Comm. Chairman Chaffetz: Hands off the Office of Government Ethics

WASHINGTON - 20 government accountability groups and ethics experts today called on the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT), to desist from apparent efforts to undermine the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). Many more citizens have been contacting members of the House Oversight Committee directly. The letter is here.

On January 12, in an undisclosed letter, Rep. Chaffetz demanded Walter Shaub, Director of OGE, testify in a closed-door session, with vague hints of retaliation against that office should he not comply. The partisan letter appears to be a veiled threat designed to punish OGE for urging President-elect Trump and his nominees to comply with ethics laws and norms.

“Chairman Chaffetz’s demand for OGE Director Walter Shaub to testify behind closed doors about the agency’s activities looks like an attack on the independent functioning of the Office of Government Ethics in response to its work reviewing conflicts of interest related to the incoming Trump administration,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director at Demand Progress. “President Trump and his administration must come clean before they come into office, and we expect the House Oversight Committee to be an ally for accountable government and to work to strengthen OGE, not undermine it.”

The letter calls for any testimony from OGE to be conducted in the open, in a bipartisan manner, to avoid interfering with OGE’s ongoing ethics review of the incoming Trump administration, and for it to include testimony addressing the Trump administration’s potential conflicts of interest.

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