The head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics has just abruptly resigned from his post, saying his agency lacked the enforcement power it needed to function properly because of Trump and his administration.
“There isn’t much more I could accomplish at the Office of Government Ethics, given the current situation,” he told the Times. “OGE’s recent experiences have made it clear that the ethics program needs to be strengthened.”
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren immediately responded, saying that his resignation was ‘deeply unnerving’ considering the Trump Administration’s “relentless pressure” for officials to “ignore ethics rules.”
“Walter Shaub’s announcement that he is resigning as head of the Office of Government Ethics is deeply unnerving. Despite swimming for months in the toxic swamp of ethics problems at every level of the Trump Administration, Walter Shaub has done exactly what a nonpartisan ethics official is supposed to do – put the law first. The Senate is responsible for confirming the new head of this post – Watergate ethics watchdog, and every senator – regardless of party – should insist upon a tough, fiercely independent replacement who will follow Shaub’s example of enforcing the law, even in the face of relentless pressure from the Trump Administration to ignore ethics rules.”
The news comes just two weeks after one of the Justice Department’s top corporate crime watchdogs resigned her post as well, saying she can’t work for Trump or the administration anymore due to their highly questionable conduct.
Hui Chen had worked for the Justice Department ever since 2015 and has been in charge of enforcing criminal laws against corporations. She released this statement in a LinkedIn post:
“Trying to hold companies to standards that our current administration is not living up to was creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome. To sit across the table from companies and question how committed they were to ethics and compliance felt not only hypocritical, but very much like shuffling the deck chair on the Titanic. Even as I engaged in those questioning and evaluations, on my mind were the numerous lawsuits pending against the President of the United States for everything from violations of the Constitution to conflict of interest, the ongoing investigations of potentially treasonous conducts, and the investigators and prosecutors fired for their pursuits of principles and facts. Those are conducts I would not tolerate seeing in a company, yet I worked under an administration that engaged in exactly those conducts. I wanted no more part in it.”
Previously, Chen stated in the month leading up to her resignation she was told to “back off investigations.” She says she was “met with hostility and a withholding of resources.” The comment came four days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
Even though Shaub resigned because of Trump, his resignation letter was a little more tasteful than Chen’s. His last day will be on July 19, 2017.