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Draining the Swamp... Or Not (@EricLiptonNYT, @benprotess, @lehrennyt)

Update: 31-May-2017 From the New York Times, “White House Details Ethics Waivers for Ex-Lobbyists and Corporate Lawyers”

The details on these so-called ethics waivers — more than five times the number granted in the first four months of the Obama administration — were made public after an intense dispute between the White House and the Office of Government Ethics, which had been pushing the Trump administration to stop granting such waivers in secret.

From Eric Lipton, Ben Protess and Andrew W. Lehren at The New York Times, “With Trump Appointees, a Raft of Potential Conflicts and ‘No Transparency’”:

President Trump is populating the White House and federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck.

In at least two cases, the appointments may have already led to violations of the administration’s own ethics rules. But evaluating if and when such violations have occurred has become almost impossible because the Trump administration is secretly issuing waivers to the rules.


The White House also announced on Friday that it would keep its visitors’ logs secret…


Mr. Trump’s own ethics executive order in late January eliminated a requirement, first adopted by President Barack Obama, that executive branch appointees not accept jobs in agencies they recently lobbied. That weakened standards applying to approximately 4,000 executive branch hires.

Mr. Trump also made it easier for former lobbyists in the government to get waivers that would let them take up matters that could benefit former clients.


[I]n several cases, officials in the Trump administration now hold the exact jobs they targeted as lobbyists or lawyers in the past two years.

The article goes on and on, loaded with specific examples. It’s all pretty startling.

Say what you want about the Obama administration, but regarding ethics, it should be a model for subsequent presidents. Trump is taking a different approach: actively encouraging corruption.

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