CONTACT: Jordan Libowitz
202-408-5565 | [email protected]
Washington — At least seven former White House aides may have violated ethics laws by failing to disclose arrangements for future employment in their termination financial disclosure reports, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) with the Office of Government Ethics. The pattern of apparent failures to disclose future employment agreements primarily occurred under the watch of Stefan Passantino, former Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) for the White House and National Security Council, and included Passantino himself.
CREW found that the following former White House officials apparently failed to disclose arrangements for future employment: John McEntee, Marc Short, Katie Walsh, William Stepien, Paul Winfree, Reed Cordish, and Stefan Passantino. Some former officials would go on to work for Trump’s campaign, political organizations, or law firms. McEntee also appears to have violated laws against receiving outside earned income and the requirement that he disclose all non-government income in his termination report. The Trump campaign reported paying McEntee over $20,000 in March 2018, while he was still employed in the White House.
“We have uncovered what seems to be a pattern of outgoing White House aides attempting to conceal their arrangements for future employment from ethics officials,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “It is alarming is that the lawyer charged with directing the ethics and financial disclosure programs at the White House appears to have been involved in this troubling practice. The Office of Government Ethics should immediately and thoroughly investigate the violations outlined in our complaint and conduct a comprehensive review of the White House’s ethics program.”
During Passantino’s tenure as DAEO for the White House and National Security Council, five former officials filed incomplete termination reports and he personally certified three of those reports. Although Passantino left his position more than six months ago, the White House apparently delayed naming a replacement to oversee the ethics and financial disclosure programs until recently.