PPT Gives Thanks for Agency Ethics Officials
- November 23, 2021
We honor the work they do to protect the public’s trust
Today, federal watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust expressed its thanks to Executive Branch agency ethics officials who help to protect the public’s trust. These career civil servants can sometimes be forced into difficult situations by political appointees and leadership but are consistently admirable defenders of the public’s interests.
PPT commends the ethics officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), for example, for resisting efforts from a political appointee to obtain a waiver from obligations of the Biden Ethics Pledge and for providing advice and guidance that prevented her from committing a potential ethics violation. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, PPT obtained documents detailing the conversations in which Peggy Bailey, who worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and was on the board of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) prior to joining HUD, attempted to obtain a waiver to allow her to “engage with these key partners.” Ethics officials denied the request and held firm, noting the differing circumstances, even after Ms. Bailey referenced the ethics waiver granted to a former colleague of hers at CBPP for the former colleague’s work at the Office of Management and Budget.
Earlier, HUD’s ethics officials had denied a request from Ms. Bailey to speak at a panel for NLICH for which the organization was charging admission to attend. Ms. Bailey was allowed to participate on a panel for a smaller NLIHC event for which no admission was charged.
“This Thanksgiving we at Protect the Public’s Trust give thanks for the tireless, and sometimes thankless, work of federal ethics officials,” Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust, said. “They perform a vital function in protecting the American public’s trust in its government, often under very trying circumstances.”