Head of Ethics Office Receives Bipartisan Rebuke From Congress

Walter Shaub 'could compromise agency's objectivity' with criticisms of Trump

Walter M. Shaub
Walter M. Shaub
January 24, 2017

Director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter M. Shaub received a bipartisan rebuke from members of Congress for his criticism of President Donald Trump during a closed-door meeting Monday.

Shaub, an Obama donor and defender of Hillary Clinton's ethics, could "compromise the agency's objectivity" by using the office's official Twitter account to criticize the new president, leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said.

The Associated Press reported that both Republicans and Democrats said Shaub's tweet storms urging Trump to divest from his business were inappropriate.

Shaub was also admonished for a speech he gave to the Brookings Institution on Jan. 11, where he sharply criticized Trump's decision to sign over control of his businesses to his sons, calling the move "meaningless." Trump resigned from over 400 businesses before taking office.

Shaub's comments were "highly unethical," Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) said.

Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, criticized Shaub, saying, "lawmakers from both parties were troubled" by his tweets, the AP reported.

"When he did that, it didn't seem professional," Cummings said.

Shaub was appointed head of the ethics office in January 2013, after he had donated $500 to President Obama's reelection campaign.

While being critical of Trump's handling of his businesses and saying the confirmation hearings for Trump's nominees were moving too swiftly, Shaub approved of Hillary Clinton's decision not to disclose six-figure dollar payments to the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments, companies, and universities while she was secretary of state.