Walter Shaub, the director of the US government’s ethics agency has levelled criticism at President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to turn over his business to his sons.
Shaub, spoke publically on an ethics issue which is rare for a man in his position to do. He says Trump’s solution to the conflict of interest between holding office in the Whitehouse and his global business interests broke forty years of precedent.
He went on to urge Trump to reconsider his plan before the inauguration, recommending that trump should sell his corporate assets, placing the profits in a blind trust which in turn is administered by a neutral trustee approved by the ethics agency. This is known as divestiture.
Emails obtained by the Associated Press show that the ethics agency tried to persuade Trump and his cabinet choices that divestiture was the cleanest way to avoid ethical conflict of interests.
The plan outlined by the Trump’s team is to pass his business interests to his sons. This has come out of the blue and is news to most of his cabinet choices. Tillerson and Kushner have been working to shape divestiture plans with the ethics agency.
Sheri Dillon, a partner in the global law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius and an adviser to Donald Trump said that Trump’s sons would only pursue new deals in the U.S and not globally. His business assets will be placed into trust, and a management company would manage his real estate firms.
Shaub said he was “especially troubled” at the idea of Trump’s liquid assets from stock and investment sales be placed in a “diversified portfolio of assets”. He commented, “No one has ever talked to us about the idea, and there’s no legal mechanism to do that.”
He added that he is worried that Trump has no intention of going through the government approved divestiture.