White House blasts ethics chief on his way out the door

The White House blasted the outgoing head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, just days before he's set to leave the post.

The White House's statement, provided to The New York Times, came in response to Shaub's persistent criticism of the administration in the days since he announced his resignation.

"Mr. Schaub's penchant for raising concerns on matters well outside his scope with the media before ever raising them with the White House — which happens to be his actual day job — is rather telling," White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters, said in a statement to the Times that misspelled Shaub's name.

RELATED: Politicians, pundits sound off on Donald Trump Jr.'s emails

21 PHOTOS
Politicians, pundits sound off on Donald Trump Jr.'s emails
See Gallery
Politicians, pundits sound off on Donald Trump Jr.'s emails
If this isn't treasonous, I'm not sure what is. https://t.co/QrBaaf4psM
Is this Hillary Collusion?? https://t.co/JMX4kqIbt7
Quick reminder: something doesn't have to be illegal for it to be foolish, wrong and un-American. @DonaldJTrumpJr https://t.co/nnWxmryCKV
.@LindseyGrahamSC on CNN: I know Don Jr and Jared Kushner are new to politics but this is going to require a lot of questions to be answered
.@realDonaldTrump’s son & aides met w/ Russian agent to influence our election. That is a fact.… https://t.co/Enf0NK8AGj
.@MerriamWebster definition of #collusion: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful p… https://t.co/Rqo26PD5Xw
Liberal media in a frenzy because Donald Trump Jr released all his emails. Should've just deleted them. We know that's fine with them!
What seems interesting: Email tells Trump Jr. the effort is part of Russia government's efforts to help Trump. He doesn't ask questions.
"On its face, this email chain is proof of a willingness expressed by @DonaldJTrumpJr to collude with Russia" --@JakeTapper on @CNN
So...this is it right?
I consider my friend @DonaldJTrumpJr a honorable man in every sense of the word . 🇺🇸✌️
Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman says Trump Jr. emails are "almost a smoking cannon." Told me "there's no question this is treason."
.@matthewamiller: I don't know how anyone can come out and defend what is in these emails, whether republican or democrat #AMR
Graham: Trump Jr. "definitely has to testify" https://t.co/SzwEwq9LLE
Sen. Hatch says the Don Jr. emails are not "relevant" and "all this stuff about Trump's sons and daughter -- it's a bunch of bunk."
Statement from @VPPressSec on Donald Trump Jr meeting and @VP's knowledge https://t.co/iYiyoWfHRx
There's NO way Don Jr, Jared & Paul Manafort met w/ the Russian Gov't operative without advising Donald Trump in advance. HE'S GUILTY, TOO!
Tapper: "This can't be dismissed as people out to get Donald J. Trump Jr. or fake news. This is evidence of willing… https://t.co/oSaRNQBtLb
So, I just talked to Mark Warner: https://t.co/eXm4ECI3OW
Sen @ChrisMurphyCT on Don Jr: "For a long time we saw a lot of smoke but no fire, you're seeing the fire today."
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"The truth is, Mr. Schaub is not interested in advising the executive branch on ethics. He's interested in grandstanding and lobbying for more expansive powers in the office he holds."

Walters' statement came in response to a Times interview with Shaub in which he criticized the administration's handling of ethics guidelines and made a laundry list of new proposals he recommends the government takes to help limit and handle ethical snafus.

SEE ALSO: We'll soon have records of who Trump has been meeting with at his Mar-a-Lago resort

Shaub said the administration has made the US "pretty close to a laughingstock at this point."

"It's hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we're not even keeping our own side of the street clean," Shaub told the Times. "It affects our credibility. ... I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point."

Shaub was particularly critical of President Donald Trump's constant weekend trips to his clubs and golf courses. Just this past weekend, Trump attended the US Women's Open golf tournament being held at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club. The president repeatedly promoted the event on Twitter while he was in attendance.

RELATED: Donald Trump's golf outings through the years

20 PHOTOS
Donald Trump's golf outings through the years
See Gallery
Donald Trump's golf outings through the years
U.S. property mogul Donald Trump holds a golf club during a media event on the sand dunes of the Menie estate, the site for Trump's proposed golf resort, near Aberdeen, north east Scotland May 27, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN POLITICS - Tags: SPORT GOLF BUSINESS)
Businessman and television personality Donald Trump (2nd L in red hat) and Carolyn Kepcher (2nd R), executive vice president of the Trump Organization, watch the first round of the 105th U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, North Carolina, June 16, 2005. The tournament is being played on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course. REUTERS/John Sommers II RTW/KS
Donald Trump (L) and professional golfer Natalie Gulbis look down the fairway at the Manhattan Golf Classic on Governors' Island in New York October 22, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky (UNITED STATES)
Donald Trump tosses a golf ball to his caddy after hitting a shot into the rough in a skins match at the Manhattan Golf Classic on Governors' Island in New York October 22, 2006. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky (UNITED STATES)
Donald Trump (R) drives his golf cart along the ninth fairway while he watches the final group of the day with an unidentified partner during the first round of the ADT Championship LPGA golf tournament at the Trump International course in West Palm Beach, Florida November 15, 2007. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES)
U.S. property mogul Donald Trump poses next to bagpipers during a media event on the sand dunes of the Menie estate, the site for Trump's proposed golf resort, near Aberdeen, north east Scotland May 27, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN POLITICS - Tags: SPORT GOLF BUSINESS)
Real Estate magnate Donald Trump (R) plays golf with Scotland's Colin Montgomerie during the opening of his Trump International Golf Links golf course near Aberdeen, northeast Scotland July 10, 2012. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS SPORT GOLF REAL ESTATE)
Golf - RICOH Women's British Open 2015 - Trump Turnberry Resort, Scotland - 30/7/15 US Presidential Candidate Donald Trump views the course during a visit to his Scottish golf course Turnberry Action Images via Reuters / Russell Cheyne Livepic
U.S. property magnate Donald Trump practices his swing at the 13th tee of his new Trump International Golf Links course on the Menie Estate near Aberdeen, Scotland, Britain June 20, 2011. To match Special Report USA-ELECTION/TRUMP-GOLF REUTERS/David Moir/File Photo
HARRISON, NY - JUNE 9: Donald Trump hits a shot during the pro-am prior to the start of the Buick Classic at the Westchester Country Club on June 9, 2004 in Harrison, New York. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 09: Donald Trump putts on the ninth hole in the pro-amateur Buick Classic at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. (Photo by Howard Earl Simmons/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 7: Tycoon Donald Trump hits out of the second fairway during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on February 7, 2003 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 27: Real-estate mogul Donald Trump (right) and director Ron Howard ride golf cart during the opening celebration for Trump's latest venture, the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
092226.FI.0113.trump.1.LS. Real estate mogul Donald Trump is set to break ground on a luxury housing project at his golf course on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
American businessman Donald Trump eyes his shot off the tee during the ground-breaking ceremony for the Trump International Golf Club, Palm Beach, Florida, 1997. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
American football player Tom Brady (fore) tees off, watched by real estate developer Donald Trump (in red cap), on the course at Trump International Golf Club, Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2006. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
View of American football player Tom Brady (seated left) and real estate developer Donald Trump in a golf cart at Trump International Golf Club, Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2006. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
Developer Donald Trump poses next to a green side bunker on hole 11 at his new golf course, Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, on Friday morning. Digital image taken on 01/14/05 (Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Photo by Mirek Towski/FilmMagic for Laura Davidson Public Relations)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"It creates the appearance of profiting from the presidency," Shaub said. "Misuse of position is really the heart of the ethics program, and the internationally accepted definition of corruption is abuse of entrusted power. It undermines the government ethics program by casting doubt on the integrity of government decision making."

Shaub's recommendations included forcing presidential candidates to release their tax returns, providing the OGE with subpoena power, and giving the office additional power when it comes to dealing with presidential conflicts of interest.

Prior to Trump, every major party candidate since 1976 released their tax returns. Additionally, the victorious candidates have divested from their holdings. Trump, with holdings that far outpace any president before him, has not, instead allowing his two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, in addition to a senior Trump Organization employee, to control his assets.

SEE ALSO: Ethics watchdog group files complaint against Jared Kushner for ties with online venture

"Other presidents have understood it is a pragmatic necessity," Shaub, who is joining the Campaign Legal Center after he leaves office, said. "This president seems to think it is a perk of high office."

Shaub, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to a five-year term as head of the OGE that began in January of 2013, said he did not want his role to be that of challenging the president.

"I would not have picked this fight," he said. "But I have never been one to shy away from bullies."

Shaub announced in a letter to Trump earlier this month that he would resign ahead of the end of his term, which was scheduled to end in January 2018. Shaub's last day is Wednesday.

In an interview with NPR shortly after his announcement, Shaub said "the current situation has made it clear that the ethics program needs to be stronger than it is. At the Campaign Legal Center, I'll have more freedom to push for reform. I'll also be broadening my focus to include ethics issues at all levels of government."

Shaub has been sharply critical of both Trump and his administration's ethical quandaries during the president's early months in office.

The OGE pushed Trump to fully divest from his businesses ahead of taking office and placing his assets into a blind trust, a move Trump subsequently did not make. Shaub criticized the plan that involved Donald Jr. and Eric during a speech at the Brookings Institution prior to Trump's inauguration, saying it "doesn't meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the past four decades has met."

"His sons are still running the businesses, and, of course, he knows what he owns," Shaub said.

Shaub has had a fraught relationship with the administration in the months since.

He battled Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to release the ethics waivers of White House employees, a move with which the White House later complied after initially stonewalling. The release of the waivers showed that several top White House officials, such as counselor Kellyanne Conway and chief strategist Steve Bannon, received ethics waivers for certain areas.

Shaub was later critical of Bannon's waiver, calling it "problematic."

More from Business Insider:
We'll soon have records of who Trump has been meeting with at his Mar-a-Lago resort
Watch Jared Kushner speak publicly for the first time since joining Trump's administration
Democrats are launching a group seeking to better understand and win disenchanted millennials

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.