Office Of Government Ethics Lobs Snark Attack At Trump Over Business Conflicts

November 30, 2016 2:05 p.m.

The Office of Government Ethics took to the President-elect’s favorite medium on Wednesday to give him some very pointed advice about reconciling his business conflicts.

In a string of nine tweets, some of which mirrored Trump’s distinct style of tweeting (“Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, very good for America!”), the federal agency appeared to sarcastically praise Trump for a decision the President-elect has not made: divesting himself of his business interests in order to avoid conflicts of interest once he takes office.

The Office of Government Ethics did not respond Wednesday to emails or calls from TPM.

“Like everyone else, we were excited this morning to read the President-elect’s twitter feed indicating that he wants to be free of conflicts of interest. OGE applauds that goal, which is consistent with an opinion OGE issued in 1983. Divestiture resolves conflicts of interest in a way that transferring control does not. We don’t know the details of their plan, but we are willing and eager to help them with it,” a spokesperson for the office wrote in a statement obtained by New York Times reporter Eric Lipton.

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Early Wednesday morning, Trump announced on Twitter that he plans to leave his business empire “in total,” but did not offer further details beyond announcing a Dec. 15 press conference in which he planned to offer more information.

Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller told reporters on a conference call later Wednesday that the President-elect has “been very clear” that he plans to turn over his business empire to his adult children.

This plan has raised concerns that Trump may remain aware of his businesses’ interests and continue to draw a profit while in office, objections that the Office of Government Ethics noted would be allayed if Trump divested himself completely. The tweets suggest the agency’s position is that for Trump to leave his businesses “in total,” he must sell off his holdings rather than merely hand control of them over to his children.

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