President Donald Trump’s administration has released a series of ethics waivers, revealing potential staff conflicts of interest to the public.
The series of about a dozen waivers allows White House staff to work with former clients and partners, despite ethics rules that might block them from communicating with them in the course of their jobs.
“The White House has voluntarily released the ethics waivers as part of the President’s commitment to the American people to be transparent,” a White House official said in a statement to Breitbart News.
After the Office of Government Ethics complained that the White House wasn’t making the waivers public, legal staff have responded by publishing a list of documents on the administration website.
The waivers allow White House officials that worked in the private sector prior to their appointments in the administration to continue to contact previous interests.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, for example, has a waiver to communicate with the RNC, despite the salary and bonus funds paid to him during his time as the chairman of the Republican party. Kellyanne Conway will be allowed to speak and meet with former political and nonprofit clients of her polling firm as part of her job, thanks to a waiver.
But many White House officials working high-profile jobs in the private sector before their positions in the White House are not included in the list. Trump’s administration has several officials who are very well connected in the business and financial arenas, but will be advised by legal councel in their current roles.
The White House is working in-house to deconflict ethics issues, by trying to keep senior staffers from working with former clients and employers altogether, according to an administration official, and thus eliminating the need for a waiver.
“The White House Counsel’s Office worked closely with all White House officials to avoid conflicts arising from their former places of employment or investment holdings,” the official said, admitting that the number of waivers were “limited” but only to block ethical conflicts.
The Obama administration also released a series of waivers to White House staffers during their time in office, but only a few in the opening days of their administration.