Tags: ethics | waiver | lobbyist | donald trump | administration

Trump Administration Releases More Ethics Waivers

Image: Trump Administration Releases More Ethics Waivers
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly (AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Jun 2017 05:56 PM

The Trump administration made public a dozen ethics waivers Wednesday, bringing the total number it has granted to 26.

Included in Wednesday's batch of waivers is one for Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who did some work for the Australian government, Roll Call reports. President Donald Trump's White House also granted a waiver for Lance Leggitt, who now serves as chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Leggitt previously worked as a lobbyist and attorney for the health law arm of a Washington, D.C. firm.

Trump has pledged several times to "drain the swamp," and he also placed restrictions on anyone who works in his administration from serving as a lobbyist in the future.

The ethics waivers allow people to work in the Trump administration despite having a potential conflict of interest in their past, such as lobbying for a company, firm, or group.

According to Roll Call, Robert Weissman, who works as the president of the left-leaning Public Citizen, said, "conflicts of interest and revolving door problems are pervasive in the thinly staffed administration."

Seema Verma, the head of Medicare and Medicaid, obtained a waiver to work with states that she had previously called clients while she was a healthcare consultant. Among the issues she handled for them? Navigating Medicare and Medicaid.

Her waiver notes that she must continue to recuse herself from anything that crosses with her spouse's financial interests, which include the Indiana Health Group.

Verma's need to work with states she previously called clients "outweighs any concern about a potential appearance of lack of integrity," her waiver says.

Other ethics waivers deal with less serious matters. For example, several former Fox News employees who have become agency spokespeople were given waivers to ensure they weren't running afoul of the ethics pledge by talking to their former employer.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, whose wife is a state representative in Georgia, received a waiver to discuss health policy with state officials there.

Twenty-two ethics waivers were granted in the first year of former President Barack Obama's time in the White House.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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The Trump administration made public a dozen ethics waivers Wednesday, bringing the total number it has granted to 26.
ethics, waiver, lobbyist, donald trump, administration
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2017-56-07
Wednesday, 07 Jun 2017 05:56 PM
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