The Trump administration is trying to block the disclosure of the names of former lobbyists who have obtained waivers to work at the White House.
The New York Times reports that the administration last week “sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers” for the former lobbyists.
The OGE requested copies of the waivers because the Trump administration has hired dozens of ex-lobbyists — and without knowing the identities of the people granted waivers, it would be impossible to know if they are violating federal ethics laws.
The report notes that the administration’s move to block disclosure is a “highly unusual” procedure, and Shaub told the Times that he had “never seen anything like it” before.
Marilyn L. Glynn, who served as general counsel and acting director of the OGE under former President George W. Bush, similarly said that the White House’s move is “unprecedented and extremely troubling” because “it challenges the very authority of the director of the agency and his ability to carry out the functions of the office.”
While both Trump and former President Barack Obama reserved the rights to issue waivers for ex-lobbyists working in their administrations, Obama released those waivers to the public.