Trump’s White House and various federal agencies could be violating President Donald Trump’s own executive order designed to “drain the swamp,” a government watchdog has alleged in 30 complaints filed in recent days.
The group, Public Citizen, announced Monday that it filed the ethics complaints accusing the Trump administration of violating the president’s own order that bars ex-lobbyists from being appointed without a waiver to government jobs dealing with the issues they lobbied for in the past couple of years.
Public Citizen recently sent letters to ethics officers overseeing the agencies demanding that they investigate three dozen lobbyist appointments the group has identified as being in violation of the order Trump issued a week into his tenure. The much-hyped signing of the order was intended to implement one of his loudest campaign promises—to “drain the swamp.”
“The bottom line is that neither Trump nor his administration take conflicts of interest and ethics seriously,” Lisa Gilbert, Public Citizen’s vice president of legislative affairs, said in a statement . “‘Drain the swamp’ was far more campaign rhetoric than a commitment to ethics, and the widespread lack of compliance and enforcement of Trump’s ethics executive order shows that ethics do not matter in the Trump administration.”
Only six of the 36 appointments of former lobbyists that Public Citizen identified had publicly disclosed waivers. The watchdog claims that the remaining 30 ex-lobbyists possibly violate Trump’s ethics order if they influence official actions on issues they recently worked on in any way.
“These 30 apparent violations of Trump’s own ethics rules are only the tip of the iceberg,” Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, said in a statement. “We looked at only a quarter of all presidential appointees because records were not readily available at the time. I suspect the real number of potential violations is fourfold.”
Among the ex-lobbyists the watchdog group flagged are Byron Anderson, a special assistant to the secretary of labor who formerly served as a Transamerica vice president of federal affairs , and Andrew Wheeler, a deputy administrator atht Environmental Protection Industry, who reportedly lobbied for the coal industry .
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Newsweek on Monday.
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