Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, warned the head of an independent federal ethics watchdog group that he may be subpoenaed if he refuses an interview after questioning president-elect Donald Trump's commitment to clearing any conflicts of interest.
Chaffetz accused director Walter M. Shaub Jr. of the Office of Government Ethics, which advises officials in the federal branch on how to avoid conflicts of interest, of "blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance," in a letter sent Thursday.
The complaint focuses on a series of tweets made from the office in late November that congratulated Trump for divesting from his company, despite Trump not making that decision.
Chaffetz also accused the office of failing to properly investigate allegations against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that claim she failed to disclose speaking fees after leaving office.
"Your agency's mission is to provide clear ethics guidance, not engage in public relations," Chaffetz wrote. "The Committee is thus continuing its examination of operations. Statutory authorization lapsed at the end of fiscal year 2007 and the Committee has jurisdiction in the House of Representatives for reauthorizing the office.
"To help the Committee understand how you perceive role, among other things, please make yourself available for a transcribed interview with Committee staff as soon as possible, but no later than January 31, 2017. The Committee may also need to interview additional witnesses pursuant to this review."
Shaub criticized Trump's plans to distance himself from his business, saying it strays from the model set by the presidents of the last four decades.
"This is not a blind trust," he said, according to CNN Money. "It's not even close."
"We can't risk creating the perception that government leaders would use their official positions for profit," he added.
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