President Donald Trump's administration continues to be at war with the Office of Government Ethics over whether it should publicly disclose the ethics waivers it has granted to former lobbyists hired to work in the government.
But eight years ago, a top Republican pushed for the Office of Government Ethics to exert similar pressure on President Barack Obama so that "the business of the Government is done in as open and transparent manner as possible," according to a report by the Associated Press.
That quote came from Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who asked the OGE to pressure President Barack Obama into publicly disclosing his ethics waivers in 2009. This point was raised in a letter last week to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney by OGE Director Walter Shaub Jr., who wrote that "the current Administration has not been complying with this established practice" of publicly disclosing ethics waivers that are granted to former lobbyists. Shaub also wrote to Mulvaney on Monday that he expects to receive the requested information within 10 days, pointedly adding, "I want to assure you that a request from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget is not something that I decline lightly."
The OGE is receiving encouragement from Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, whose chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland wrote in a letter on May 19 that "it is critical that you and your office make transparent how the individuals serving in the Trump Administration are complying, or failing to comply, with President Trump’s executive order and other ethics requirements. Your role is particularly important because the White House itself is keeping this information secret."
When Shaub first learned that the White House was challenging the OGE's authority to obtain disclosure for all of the ethics waivers that the Trump administration has granted, he commented that "it is an extraordinary thing. I have never seen anything like it."