- Title: Former U.S. ethics chief warns 'ethics crisis' in Trump era could become new norm
- Date: 28th July 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JULY 28, 2017) (REUTERS) WIDE SHOT FORMER HEAD OF THE U.S. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS WALTER SHAUB BEING INTRODUCED AT EVENT (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAD OF THE U.S. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS, WALTER SHAUB, SAYING: "This past eight months, and I say 'eight months' because my work with this administration began during the presidential administration, has been an absolute shock to the system. And I would say that we are truly in an ethics crisis right now, and something got to be done about it. And that's partly why I left, because I'd reached the end of what I thought I could achieve there. And one of the things I want to work on outside is proposals for improving the government ethics program. In addition, I think that the crisis we're facing was experienced very acutely in the government ethics program, but it's part of a broader assault on the institutions of our representative form of government. And so I hope to broaden my focus in my new job." SHAUB LISTENING TO REPORTER QUESTION AUDIENCE LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAD OF THE U.S. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS, WALTER SHAUB, SAYING: "You have the administration calling things 'leaks' that are not at all leaks. Like when OGE (U.S. Office of Government Ethics) decides to fulfill its mission to communicate with the public about important matters of government interest, they call that a leak. Well, it's an official release, not a leak. Or when this week Anthony Scaramucci talks about going to the FBI or DOJ (Dept. of Justice) because somebody released his public financial disclosure report, which says "public" at the top and has a discussion of the release mechanism. So, these are ethical principles, and the departure from them is every bit of a threat as any violation of a specific rule." WIDE SHOT EVENT IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAD OF THE U.S. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS, WALTER SHAUB, SAYING: "I get that we're in a hyper-polarized society right now, and so people have a hard time from - both sides of the aisle - being able to take a look at this issue. But I think it's important because we've always been free of presidential conflicts of interests since the Ethics and Government Act was enacted, and now we're not. You see the president flying around giving free advertisements to his properties; you see foreign governments, and businesses and charities, and even political officials holding events at his properties. And it's just inextricable - the conflicts of interest." WIDE SHOT EVENT IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAD OF THE U.S. OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS, WALTER SHAUB, SAYING: "I'm extremely concerned and the biggest concern is that norms evolve. So if we have a shock to the system, what we're experiencing now could become the new norm. All the more reason for it to be reported on and covered and challenged before it takes root. When something happens, like if Special Council Mueller gets fired, that will be an extraordinary crisis for our country. I don't even have the words for it yet, and I'm sad to say I'm trying to get the words together so I'll know what to say when it happens. But it shouldn't happen. It'll be destructive to our society in ways we can't even begin to fathom right now. And so the answer to how difficult it will be to change? The longer the departure from norms persists, the more difficult they'll be to turn back." SHAUB BEING PRESENTED WITH GIFT, TAKING SEAT
- Embargoed: 11th August 2017 17:19
- Keywords: Walter Shaub National Press Club ethics in the Trump administration
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016RMV1ON
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics warned on Friday (July 28) that the "ethics crisis" posed by President Donald Trump and his administration could become irreversible.
"The longer the departure from norms persists, the more difficult they'll be to turn back," Walter Shaub, who resigned from his post earlier this month, told an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
During his brief tenure under Trump, Shaub had sounded many alarms over the Trump administration's business entanglements.
He had also urged Trump to divest from his business empire rather than turn management of it over to his sons, and chastised the White House for not disciplining presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway after she endorsed a fashion line sold by Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter.
Shaub now heads the Ethics Practice at the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington-based nonpartisan group dedicated to democratic reform.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None