The director of the Office of Government Ethics is reportedly alarmed that the U.S. Senate would begin considering the President-elect’s cabinet positions before they’re fully vetted.
Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub wrote a letter to Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren, in which he stated, “as OGE’s Director, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me.”
“This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews. More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings.”
Mr. Shaub’s letter comes just ahead of a week where several hearings will take place pertaining to Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks. On Wednesday alone, there will be hearings on six of the President-elect’s nominees.
The OGE director expressed concern that he could not recall an instance in the four decades that the office has existed where a President-elect’s potential cabinet picks had gone before the Senate without being fully vetted for conflicts of interest.
He explained that,
“This normally intensive process has been further complicated by both the Senate hearing schedule and the announcement of nominees prior to consulting OGE for an evaluation of any ethics issues. In the past, the ethics work was fully completed prior to the announcement of nominees in the overwhelming majority of cases.”
In a statement on Saturday, Sen. Schumer commented on the letter, saying that it “makes crystal clear that the transition team’s collusion with Senate Republicans to jam through these Cabinet nominees before they’ve been thoroughly vetted is unprecedented.”
The office has lost contact with the President-elect after trying to contact him several times in November. In a series of e-mails, Mr. Shaub reportedly warned members of the Trump transition team that they were at risk of embarrassing the President-elect by announcing his cabinet picks before notifying their office.
It is expected that Donald Trump will hold a press conference on Wednesday in which he will detail how he plans to resolve his business ties.