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White House Ethics Office Bans Anonymous Gifts For Legal Defense Funds

Image: White House Ethics Office Bans Anonymous Gifts For Legal Defense Funds

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By    |   Thursday, 28 September 2017 02:07 PM

The ethics watchdog for the executive branch said Thursday anonymous donations may not be used to cover legal fees, a clarification that comes after it was reported that President Donald Trump has been using re-election funds and RNC money to pay his legal bills stemming from the Russia probe.

The Hill reported that the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) released its policy in a memo to its ethics officials.

"This Legal Advisory is being issued by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to clarify OGE's advice concerning legal defense funds established to provide for the legal expenses of executive branch employees," the memo reads. "Specifically, this Legal Advisory makes clear that the discussion in OGE Informal Advisory Opinion 93x21 concerning the acceptance of donations from anonymous sources does not, and has not, reflected OGE's views since shortly after the issuance of that opinion.

"Although there is no statutory or regulatory framework providing for the manner in which a legal defense fund may be established for an employee, such a fund must be operated consistent with the ethics rules."

Before the policy was updated, members of the executive branch were allowed to use anonymous donations from lobbyists, for example, to help cover legal bills. That is no longer the case.

According to The Hill, the White House said last week it had banned executive branch employees from accepting anonymous donations for legal defense funds.

In its memo, the OGE suggested that executive branch employees "consult with an agency ethics official or OGE before establishing a legal defense fund" in order to avoid any violations.

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The ethics watchdog for the executive branch said Thursday anonymous donations may not be used to cover legal fees, a clarification that comes after it was reported that President Donald Trump has been using re-election funds and RNC money to pay his legal bills stemming...
white house, ethics, legal, defense, funds
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2017-07-28
Thursday, 28 September 2017 02:07 PM
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