Wyden Calls for Disclosure of Trump Administration Ethics Waivers
In letters to top administration officials, Wyden voices concern of growing special interest influence
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued letters to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer and Acting Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Nancy Berryhill asking they disclose future ethics waivers and authorizations granted to individuals working in the Trump administration.
Wyden’s call follows Office of Government Ethics (OGE) reporting that the Trump administration issued a large number of ethics waivers during its first three months. These waivers give administration officials greater ability to advance special interest agendas that are harmful to hardworking Americans.
“As the Trump Administration stocks its agencies with lobbyists and industry insiders, Americans deserve to know who is abiding by ethics rules and who has been given a pass,” said Wyden. “From health insurance costs to protecting consumers from Wall Street abuses, these officials have the power to influence policy decisions that affect the financial prosperity and well-being of the middle class.”
Granted by the presidential administrations, ethics waivers allow political appointees and government employees to work on issues from which they had previously agreed to recuse themselves. This means that former lobbyists and consultants currently working in government could influence issues they had worked on previously for their clients. When OGE asked the Trump Administration to provide the ethics waivers for a government-wide review, the White House initially sought to block this request. Under growing pressure from Congress, waivers have slowly begun to be made public. In order to properly execute the Finance Committee’s oversight responsibilities, Wyden’s letter asks that all future HHS, Treasury, USTR and SSA ethics waivers be disclosed to the committee.
A copy of the letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin can be found here.
A copy of the letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Price can be found here.
A copy of the letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer can be found here.
A copy of the letter to Acting Commissioner Berryhill can be found here.
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