The White House Ethics Transparency Act Packs a Simple Yet Practical Punch to Secret White House Ethics Waivers

Washington, D.C. — Open The Government supports the White House Ethics Transparency Act sponsored by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md) as it goes before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform today. The bill’s provisions are also part of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, a broader government accountability and transparency bill.

In the aftermath of the Trump administration violating its own ethics requirements for executive branch appointees, the legislation mandates disclosure requirements to ensure transparency and accountability when ethics waivers are granted by the current and future administrations.

The legislation empowers the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to exercise its oversight function as an independent agency statutorily charged with preventing conflicts of interest and ensuring ethics compliance in the executive branch.

“The bill sends a strong message of ‘enough’ to ethics violations, as top public officials swing in an out of the widening revolving door between government and industry,” said Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of Open The Government. “It moves the needle by prohibiting secret waivers that bypass ethics rules and should have no place in our democracy.”

Thelegislationrequires each administration to disclose within 30 days ethics waivers granted to executive branch officials and to make the waivers available to the public through the White House and the OGE’s websites. It also requires the ethics waiver disclosure requirements to be retroactive to January 20, 2017.