Press Statement on Shuffle at Ethics Office

White House Replacing Acting Director of Ethics Office with Her Subordinate

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July 21, 2017 | By: Tim Farnsworth

For Immediate Release: July 21, 2017

Media Contacts: Danielle Brian, Executive Director at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), 202-347-1122 or dbrian@pogo.org; Scott Amey, General Counsel at POGO, 202-347-1122; Tim Farnsworth, Chief Communications Strategist, 202-550-9402 or tfarnsworth@pogo.org

Today, the Project On Government Oversight has learned that President Trump will circumvent the planned delegation of authority at the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) and replace Acting Director Shelley K. Finlayson with her subordinate, General Counsel David J. Apol. 

Outgoing ethics czar, Walter Shaub, left after he was repeatedly frustrated in his efforts to get the White House to follow the office’s recommendations.

POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian issued the following statement:

This move raises questions about the Trump administration’s motivation for replacing Acting Director Shelley K. Finlayson with a different acting director. 

While Mr. Apol is clearly qualified for the position, we don’t understand why the Administration is focusing on interfering with the Agency’s succession plan by replacing the acting director with her subordinate instead of finding a nominee for confirmation by the Senate.

Whoever is running this agency over the next few months has extraordinary power to vet administration nominees that will determine the completion of the administration.

We urge the White House to focus on finding the next head of the agency who can be confirmed by the Senate. That person should be committed to upholding the highest standards of ethics for everyone in the federal government, even if that means taking a strong stance against the White House and the President’s nominees for senior positions.

We also hope OGE continues promoting the need for a stronger OGE and more robust ethics programs government-wide.

Follow this link for more information on our recent recommendations to strengthen the Office of Government Ethics.

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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