As Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Director Walter Shaub leaves office this week, Issue One Chief of Policy, Programs and Strategy Meredith McGehee released the following statement:
“Public confidence in our elected leaders is at an all-time low, but Washington didn’t get the memo. The Trump administration — in order to renew faith in a responsive, ethical federal government — should quickly appoint an acting director for OGE. Then it should expeditiously nominate a successor who is committed to upholding the agency’s independence as it carries out the mission of advising the executive branch on preventing potential conflicts of interest.
Equally as important, President Trump and Congress should make it a top priority to pass the bipartisan-backed statutory reforms to enhance and modernize OGE.”
Issue One’s bipartisan package of changes to the Office of Government Ethics include:
- Clarifying that the director of OGE has the authority to conduct investigations, subpoena witnesses, compel production of documents, issue civil penalties for violations for high-ranking officials
- Authorizing OGE to serve as a central clearinghouse for all ethics actions taken by designated agency ethics offices
- Authorizing OGE to publish recusal agreements of high-ranking Senior Executive Service employees
- Authorizing OGE to impose specific standards for ethics training and mandate ethics training for all high-level executive branch officials within a certain amount of time after joining an administration
- Authorizing OGE to investigate allegations of ethics violations for high-ranking employees (presidential appointments with and without Senate confirmation, SES and Schedule C).