White House grants ethics waivers to Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, among other senior staffers
Just hours before the June 1 deadline, the White House revealed the granting of ethics waivers to 17 staff members.
Bloomberg notes, "The waivers, issued by the White House Counsel's office, allow administration appointees to take part in decisions from which federal ethics rules and Trump's own policies would require them to recuse."
Among the recipients are White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, all of whom have been cleared to engage in communications with their former employers, colleagues, and clients, reports the Washington Post.
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Those entities include Breitbart, the Republican National Committee, the Koch brother-fueled organization Freedom Partners, and the National Rifle Association, notes The Hill.
Four former lobbyists were also granted permission to resume past professional relationships, a move that appears to counter Trump's campaign pledge to "drain the swamp," which, at the time, involved reducing lobbyists' role in governance.
The Washington Post notes that "in letters posted on the White House website, the White House counsel's office wrote that the waivers were in the public interest because the administration had a need for the appointees' expertise on certain issues."
While some applauded the administration for sharing information about the waivers, others were not swayed by the move towards transparency.
Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, commented, "...these waivers make clear the remarkable extent to which they are comfortable mixing their own personal interests with the country's."
Notably, ethics waivers in general are not unusual and were issued by the past administration as well.