This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: Nothing to hide, but nothing to show

Trump's conflicts this week have caused him to try to stop the Office of Government Ethics from doing its job

Published May 27, 2017 6:30AM (EDT)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)

While President Donald Trump has managed to somewhat diminish his prominence in the news cycle this week (mainly because he's been overseas and thus gotten into less trouble — which is not the same thing as no trouble), that doesn't mean there haven't been egregious ethical issues in his administration.

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Trump doesn't want the Office of Government Ethics to find out if he's actually been draining the swamp

When the head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub Jr., asked the Trump administration to disclose all of the former lobbyists who have been hired to work for the White House or other federal agencies, he wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary. This makes it all the more troubling that the Trump administration's response was to ask that he withdraw his request, claiming that they need to "seek further legal guidance" and implying "that the data being sought is not being collected to satisfy our mutual high standard of ethics" (the insinuation is most likely that Shaub is doing this for political reasons). As Shaub put it, "It is an extraordinary thing. I have never seen anything like it."

Jared Kushner hasn't fully divested from his real estate empire

Oh Jared Kushner. When you aren't being investigated for alleged ties to Russia, you're emulating your father-in-law by being less than willing to fully address your conflicts of interest. At least, that's the conclusion one must reach upon learning that Kushner has retained nearly 90 percent of his real estate holdings, which are worth anywhere from $132 million to $407 million. But I'm sure someone whose sister explicitly mentioned his connection to the president during an investment pitch in China can be trusted, right?

Back to the Office of Government Ethics

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., wants the Office of Government Ethics to investigate Trump, based on an April 26 Reuters report, which claims that there are at least seven states with public pension funds that transmit millions to an investment fund that just so happens to own, and pay a Trump company to manage, the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York City.

That little thing.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He specializes in covering science and history, and is particularly passionate about climate change, animal science, disability rights, plastic pollution and a wide range of political issues. He has interviewed many prominent figures (reflecting his diverse interests) including President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin (2002-present), comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2") and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Donald Trump Jared Kushner Office Of Government Ethics Partner Video Walter Shaub