Trump exempts four ex-lobbyists from ethics rules

Trump's White House has granted ethics waivers to 17 appointees — including four former lobbyists

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published June 1, 2017 4:11PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The White House issued ethics waivers to four former lobbyists who went on to work for President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence. 17 individuals have already received such exemptions from certain ethics rules -- as many as were granted an exemption during President Barack Obama's entire eight-year term.

Three of the former lobbyists are now staffers at the National Economic Council and a fourth is chief of staff for Pence, according to a report by The Washington Post. Pence's chief of staff is Joshua Pitcock, who previously worked as a lobbyist for the State of Indiana.

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In addition, the White House granted waivers to Michael Catanzaro, a domestic energy and environmental policy adviser who used to lobby for the energy industry. Catanzaro is now allowed to work on policies involving emissions and renewable fuels. Shahira Knight, a White House adviser on tax and retirement policy who used to lobby on tax issues and served as vice president of Fidelity Investments' public affairs and policy group, can now work on tax and financial policy. Andrew Olmem, who is a White House financial policy adviser and used to lobby for Venable on bankruptcy and securities issues, can now work on policies involving Puerto Rico's financial crisis and insurance and financial policies.

Other White House staffers who received waivers include Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, counselor Kellyanne Conway and chief legal counsel Donald McGahn.

In related news, David Urban — who is best known for making Trump the first Republican presidential candidate to win Pennsylvania since 1988 — has registered 18 new clients with his lobbying firm American Continental Group in this year, according to a report by Bloomberg. This is six times as many as from one year ago.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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