In response to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) reversing its own internal policy related to legal defense funds, Issue One Chief of Policy, Programs and Strategy Meredith McGehee issued the following statement:
Anonymous political donations to government sources, particularly from prohibited sources (e.g. lobbyists or those with business before the government) are a nonstarter.
This move by OGE invites potential conflicts of interest within the executive branch, flying in the face of the agency’s mission. Allowing prohibited sources to curry favor through anonymous donations to executive staff legal defense funds opens up a new avenue to buy influence and access in the highest branches of our government.
After all, the recipients of this money will know where it came from; Only the American people will be kept in the dark.
It is now up to the White House as to whether and how they will follow this updated guidance. In any case, OGE should close this potential loophole as quickly as possible.