The White House is trying to keep the Office of Government Ethics from viewing documents detailing which former lobbyists have been hired by the Trump administration for positions in the federal government, the New York Times reported Monday morning.
The Trump administration asked Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, to withdraw his request for copies of the waivers for former lobbyists, arguing that Shaub did not have the legal authority to make such a request, per the New York Times.
“This data call appears to raise legal questions regarding the scope of O.G.E.’s authorities,” Mick Mulvaney, the head of the Office of Management and Budget wrote in the letter, according to the Times.“I therefore request that you stay the data call until these questions are resolved.”
The Office of Management and Budget defended the news in a statement Sunday
“This request, in both its expansive scope and breathless timetable, demanded that we seek further legal guidance,” OMB said in a statement about Shaub’s request, per the Times. “The very fact that this internal discussion was leaked implies that the data being sought is not being collected to satisfy our mutual high standard of ethics.”
Shaub told the New York Times that he was surprised by the White House’s response to his request.
“It is an extraordinary thing,” he said. “I have never seen anything like it.”
An executive order signed by President Trump bars lobbyists from working in the federal government on issues pertaining to their former clients for two years, but allows the administration to issue waivers. Shaub was requesting copies of these waivers, per the Times.