Democrats, watchdog seek Trump's ethics waivers

Roger Moore poses at the Dorchester Hotel in 1972 after the announcement was made that he will play James Bond  Moore poses for a portrait in Germany in 2009

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The Trump administration is trying to block the disclosure of the names of former lobbyists who have obtained waivers to work at the White House.

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and first lady Melania Trump wave as they board Air Force One for Israel, the next stop in Trump's worldwide tour, at King Khalid global Airport, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Riyadh. He was sacked in February, after misleading Vice President Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PenceWatchdog group sues for ex-lobbyist ethics waivers Manafort, Stone give Russian Federation docs to Senate panel: report Flynn cites "public frenzy" in refusal to comply with subpoena: report MORE.

That was Republican Sen.

"The Ethics and Government Act was part of a whole package of post-Watergate legislation that had a common theme of transparency", he added.

[Agency head Walter] Shaub, who is in the final year of a five-year term after being appointed by President Barack Obama, said he had no intention of backing down. Shaub requested this information be turned over to OGE by June 1. Mulvaney questioned Shaub's legal standing to demand the information in the first place, writing, "This data call appears to raise legal questions regarding the scope of OGE's authorities".

The legal complaint focuses on FOIA requests that American Oversight sent for all the waivers issued within eight federal agencies: the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs. Trump's White House is resisting efforts from OGE and Congress to do the same.

Trump signed an executive order in late January that barred lobbyists and lawyers hired as political appointees from working on "particular" government issues that involved former clients for two years.

Murray's letter cites a Reuters report from April 26 that found the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York City was owned by one of the Los Angeles-based CIM Group's real estate funds.

The Trump administration has been feuding with the OGE since late November, when Shaub began publicly urging the president-elect to sell off his real-estate assets.

Because the Trump administration is keeping ethics waivers secret, it's unclear how many have been granted.

The House Democrats asked Shuab to commit to posting them on OGE's website. But any time the administration provided such a waiver, it automatically published a detailed explanation as to why an exception was being made.

It is less clear whether it has the power to demand such information from the White House.

Chaffetz expects to talk to Comey: House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says he expects to speak Monday with former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, as lawmakers look into the extent his firing was related to an investigation of Russia's ties with President Trump's associates.

Shaub did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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