By Austin Cherkas | WASHINGTON
Ethics are a staple in American life and life all around the world. Many look up to our leaders to set an example. Ethics are such an important quality in American politics, so much so that we established the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) in our federal government in 1989 as a separation from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), it was first introduced to the OPM in a bill called Ethics in the Government Act of 1978. A radical change in leadership has just occurred on July 6, 2017, when Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr resigned six months before his term would expire.
Walter Shaub Jr tweeted his resignation letter announcing that his last day would be on July 19th. His letter of resignation was directly sent to President Donald Trump. His official letter showed no reason why he would resign. All it said was that he enjoyed his time and appreciated his staff but failed to mention the big question: why?
Shaub Jr’s agency repeatedly enforced the law on questionable ethics decisions in the Trump administration. For example, Shaud Jr questioned President Trump’s business handling as President. Other clashes between Trump and Shaub Jr was the Trump transition into the White House and Kellyanne Conway’s promotion of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line live on Fox News.
The White House released the statement on Walter Shaub Jr’s resignation, “The White House accepts Mr. Shaub’s resignation and appreciates his service. The President will be nominating a successor in short order.”
Walter Shaub Jr released a statement saying, “I have had the honor and privilege of serving the American public at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump… In working with the current administration, it has become clear to me that we need improvements to the existing ethics program. I look forward to working toward that aim at Campaign Legal Center, as well as working on ethics reforms at all levels of government.”
Senator Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer was very pleased with Shaud Jr’s career as OGE Director with a statement saying, “stellar career… Democrats look forward to thoroughly examining the President’s nominee for this Senate-confirmable position.”
As much as ethics are important in America, so is accountability. As the leadership of the department that holds our federal government accountable shifts to a new era, we must pay attention. The next Director of the OGE will need to be someone strong and non-partisan so that we can make sure our government can be trusted and keep our people safe from tyranny.
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