CREW sends Office of Government Ethics letter on Lynne Patton
CREW identified several anomalous entries in Lynne Patton’s new entrant and annual financial disclosure reports, including problems with her income from the Trump Organization. The anomalies prevent the public from knowing how much the Trump Organization paid Patton in 2017. Patton is the Regional Administrator for Region II of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in New York.
The entries about Patton’s payments from the Trump Organization are problematic for two reasons. First, she disclosed $106,000 worth of income in both reports despite the fact that the reports covered different periods. Second, Patton characterized the disclosed income as attributable to “Base Salary at the Trump Organization + Value of Tangible Bonuses (Golf Membership, Complimentary Hotel Stays, etc.) per year.” These items should not have been combined because there are different methods to assess the value of monetary and nonmonetary items.
Patton has a long history of work with the Trump family, working previously as Vice President of the Eric Trump Foundation and Senior Assistant to Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Trump, Jr, so understanding the ways she was compensated is of significant public interest. In our letter to OGE, we noted the potential for conflicts of interest raised by the fact that Trump Organization was invested in a low-income property receiving HUD subsidies during the period covered by Patton’s annual report.
In addition, Patton failed to disclose the interest rate on a loan. She also received a 45-day filing extension to file her report, but filed it more than 45 days after the deadline. CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents about whether she paid the $200 late filing fee or requested a waiver.
HUD certified Patton’s disclosure reports despite all of these concerns and the fact that they are not compliant with the Ethics in Government Act or Office of Government Ethics (OGE) disclosure regulations. CREW asked OGE to direct HUD to resolve these questions and notify the public when the corrected reports are available.
Patton has a history of inappropriately mixing her official position and political activity, and CREW filed a Hatch Act complaint about her behavior in May 2018. More recently, she drew attention by making an appearance far from her New York office with Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) during a congressional oversight hearing in Washington, D.C. that was held during working hours, as well as for reports of a possible deal for a reality TV show, which she denies.