Kellyanne Conway says complying with federal ethics laws discourages government employees

The presidential adviser took issue with mandated financial disclosures

Emily Shugerman
New York
Friday 28 July 2017 17:25
Kellyanne Conway: Ethics filings discourage potential government employees

Complying with federal ethics rules is “demoralising” for the “good men and women” who want to work in the Trump White House, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway has claimed.

In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” Ms Conway took issue with the financial disclosure forms required of all top executive branch employees.

"There are so many qualified men and women who wanted to serve this administration and their country who have been completely demoralised and completely disinclined to do so based on the paperwork we have to put forward,” Ms Conway said.

The adviser pointed to Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, who claimed that his financial disclosure forms had been “leaked” to the press. Copies of the report reveal it was filed on June 23, which means it could be publicly released on July 23 – three days before the article about it was published.

Still, Ms Conway said she feared the incident would “disincentivise” the communications director from serving.

“[White House staff] have all complied with those rules,” Ms Conway said, “but it is really disincentivising good men and women, and I hope it doesn't disincentivise Anthony."

According to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), financial disclosures are required to identify and prevent conflicts of interest in government.

Mr Trump’s various disclosure forms, for example, reveal that a large portion of his income comes from his companies with foreign ties. The OGE previously pressed Mr Trump to divest from his companies, in order to keep these ties and others from presenting conflicts of interest.

Mr Trump refused, instead placing his business interests in a “blind trust” controlled by his sons.

Mr Trump’s former OGE Director, Walter Shaub, resigned his position in July, claiming the administration's approach to ethics had made the government “close to a laughingstock”.

“It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anti-corruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean,” Mr Shaub told The New York Times.

Responding Ms Conway’s latest comments on Twitter, Mr Saub wrote: “The Administration assures us, ladies and gents, that it fully supports the (horrible, no good, awful, totes demoralizing) ethics program.”

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