CREW requests:

  1. Copies of all communications between employees of the Office of Government Ethics (“OGE”) on November 30, 2016, mentioning or relating to President-Elect Donald Trump, any of his business holdings, and/or conflicts of interest.
  2. Copies of all communications between employees of OGE and the representatives of the Trump transition team, including representatives of Trump for America, Inc., and the Office of the President-Elect and the Office of the Vice President-Elect on November 30, 2016.

On November 30, 2016, the official Twitter account of OGE, @OfficeGovEthics, posted nine tweets referring to President-Elect Trump’s official Twitter handle, @RealDonaldTrump, and commenting on how he can deal with conflict of interest issues regarding his business holdings. OGE’s tweets appeared to praise President-Elect Trump’s commitment to completely divest from his businesses, though President-Elect Trump had not actually made such a commitment. The tweets also reveal that representatives of OGE had spoken to lawyers representing President-Elect Trump about divestiture as a solution to the conflict of interest issues.

Many observers were confused by OGE’s tweets, leading to speculation that the agency’s messages were the result of “a hack or the work of a rogue employee”. Others noted that it was unusual for a “normally secretive federal agency” to comment publicly on an individual’s conflict of interest issues. The requested records, therefore, would shed light on the agency’s decision-making regarding the public communications and how employees responded to the confusion they created.

2016-12-07 FOIA Request Office of Government Ethics

2016-12-30 OGE Responsive Documents

2016-12-30 OGE Final Response

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