Tester Calls for Public Disclosure of Executive Branch Ethics Pledge Waivers

Senator to Trump: Let’s Work Together to Truly “Drain the Swamp”

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on President Trump to disclose the names and positions of any executive branch officials who have been granted a waiver to the White House’s ethics pledge. 

Tester pushed President Trump to maintain the previous requirement that the Office of Government Ethics publicly disclose which executive branch officials signed the White House ethics pledge, whether their ethics pledges were waived, and whether those waivers were granted appropriately.  These disclosures have long been available to the public. 

Tester’s letter comes after reports found that three former lobbyists have been hired to work in the White House on the same issues they use to lobby for.

“This is an area where we can work closely together,” Tester wrote to Trump. Transparency and public accountability are vital to the success of our government. We have a unique opportunity to work together on ethics reform to ensure the rules we put in place regarding lobbying activity are properly followed.”

President Trump issued an executive order on January 28th that establishes standards for incoming and outgoing Executive Branch officials regarding lobbying activity.  The Executive Order also removed the requirement that ethics pledge waivers be publicly disclosed and made electronically available.  So far, the White House has not publicly disclosed whether any executive branch officials have been granted ethics pledge waivers.

Tester highlighted that without a public disclosure requirement, President Trump’s efforts to institute a lobbying ban for executive branch officials may not be fully honored by White House officials.

“This information is vital to the success of a transparent government, and I believe this common sense step would go a long way to show the public that all rules regarding lobbying activity are being followed,” Tester added.

President Trump’s executive order also contains a provision similar to Tester’s bill, the Cleaning Up Washington’s Act, which bans certain executive branch officials from lobbying five years after leaving civil service. 

Tester’s bill goes further than President Trump’s executive order and also bans former members of Congress from lobbying for up to five years after leaving the House of Representatives or Senate.  Tester’s bill guarantees that the lobbying ban remains in place after President Trump leaves office.

 Tester’s letter to President Trump is available HERE.