Sean Spicer may be violating federal law by looking for a new job on taxpayer time: ex-ethics chief
Sean Spicer still works at the White House, nearly two weeks after resigning as press secretary, and the former chief ethics watchdog said he may be violating the law by meeting with potential employers.
He was spotted July 22, the day after his resignation, meeting with television executives, and he’s met with talent agencies to discuss possible book deals, reported Politico.
Reporters asked Spicer last week whether he was using government time to look for a new job, and he didn’t say no.
“There’s no such thing as vacations. It’s a 24-7 job, I don’t accrue vacation,” Spicer said.
Federal law requires senior government officials to file notice when negotiating employment and then pledge to recuse themselves from any business that might involve the financial interests of those potential employers.
Aides who once reported to Spicer told Politico they aren’t sure what he does all day since resigning, but he’s been spotted at meetings on tax reform and attending some public ceremonies and giving his family a tour of the White House grounds.
Spicer insists his conversations with potential employers have been only been preliminary in nature, but the former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics said he might already be violating standards of conduct.
“If you’re making decisions about access or potentially giving an exclusive [to a news organization], then you could be affecting their financial interests, which could trigger a conflict of interest,” said Walter Schaub, who resigned last month after clashing repeatedly with Trump administration officials.
The ethics office encourages senior administration staffers to file notice with the White House counsel when they are seeking employment to avoid conflicts of interest, but Spicer and his successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have refused to say whether he’s done that or sought an ethics waiver.
An OGE spokesperson declined to comment, but Schaub explained why Spicer could be violating the law by discussing the possibility of appearing on “Dancing With The Stars” while working for the government.
“If [TV networks] broach the topic of him coming to work for them, then he’s seeking employment and the recusal under the standards of conduct kicks in,” Scaub said.