The Office of Government Ethics should investigate Mike Pence’s former chief of staff Marc Short for apparent violations of the Ethics in Government Act and OGE regulations by failing to file a termination public financial disclosure report when he left the White House in January 2021, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The EIGA requires high-level federal officials like Short to publicly disclose their personal financial interests and resolve all conflicts of interest with companies or industries they are invested in. Having previously worked as a senior advisor in the Trump administration and successfully completed the new entrant, annual, and termination reports in that position before returning to the White House, Short appears to have knowingly and willfully failed to file his termination reports when leaving his position in January.
“It’s been more than 200 days since Marc Short’s departure from the White House. His failure to complete his termination reports threatens to undermine the public’s confidence in our public financial disclosure process, particularly where it concerns an official who played a key role in the last administration’s pandemic response and financial interests that may have been affected by that response,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder. “The Office of Government Ethics should investigate and hold him accountable to the law.”
CREW previously filed a complaint against Short for appearing to have violated a criminal conflict of interest law by holding stock in companies that were directly affected by the government’s pandemic response and participating in meetings with those companies.
CREW also requested that OGE conduct a comprehensive review to address the risk of missing reports that departing White House are required to file in presidential transitions. During a presidential transition, there is no process in place to collect missing termination reports from those officials once the outgoing administration has left office, and the former administration has no authority to track and collect them after the transition.
“It is crucial for the public to get the information they need to be sure key decisions at the end of any administration, and particularly pandemic-related decisions at the end of the last one, were being made in the public interest, not any official’s financial interest,” Bookbinder said. “We urge OGE to ensure there is a system in place to collect and make publicly available any missing termination reports from former White House officials, and fulfill its duty to refer individuals who fail to file their termination report to the Department of Justice.”