Conflicts of Interest For Senior Appointees And Federal Officials Must Be Public, Watchdog Demands
- March 29, 2022
Gabe Kaminsky, The Daily Wire
On the heels of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland issuing a memo in March on Freedom of Information Act transparency, a government watchdog group is demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Office of Government Ethics (OGE) publicize all financial and ethics conflicts of interest for senior appointees and federal officials.
Protect the Public’s Trust wrote to Garland and OGE Director Emory Rounds on Tuesday, citing how access to documents related to conflicts of interest are often “cloaked behind walls of government forms.” The watchdog takes issue with the fact that only financial disclosure reports for Senate-confirmed presidential appointees and incumbents are made public, according to OGE’s website.
“For any investigator versed in this arena, it’s clear that the system for members of the American public to discover the information contained in financial disclosure forms is broken and in dire need of repair,” the watchdog wrote. “The relevant forms cannot be obtained via the FOIA process. Even among the highest-ranking officials whose forms are posted on the OGE website it is fraught with repeated extensions granted to officials with complicated personal finances and potential conflicts of interest requiring divestiture.”