Friday, July 7, 2017

Ethics officials resign over the Trumps

An ethics officer at the Justice Department has resigned, saying that she can no longer perform the hypocritical task of asking companies to comply with rules that are being violated by the president and his administration.

Hue Chen said that questioning and evaluating companies about ethics compliance -- while knowing of the numerous lawsuits against the president, ranging from violations of the Constitution to firing prosecutors for pursuit of the facts -- felt like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

"These are conducts I would not tolerate seeing in a company, yet I worked under an administration that engaged in exactly those conducts.   I wanted no more part of it. . . . "It has never been more important for every individual to speak and act on their conscience and belief."

We were still digesting the meaning of Ms Chen's resignation a few days ago, when yesterday Walter Shaub resigned.  He was Chairman of the Office of Government Ethics.   He said that the ethics rules are not strong enough to allow him to effectively stand up to President Trump and his family over what they are doing.   So he is leaving and joining an outside advocacy group that will work, from outside government, to strengthen ethics rules.

Asked whether he thought the Trump family is using the office to enrich themselves, Shaub replied that he doesn't know their intentions -- but, he said:  Americans should have the right to know what their intentions are.   But he added that, lacking information about their business and personal financial interests, there is no way of knowing.   And in such a situation "appearance matters as much as reality."


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