Ethics Agency Changes Rules To Allow Anonymous Donations To White House Legal Defense Funds

Politico reports:

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has quietly reversed its own internal policy prohibiting anonymous donations from lobbyists to White House staffers who have legal defense funds.

The little-noticed change could help President Donald Trump’s aides raise the money they need to pay attorneys as the Russia probe expands — but raises the potential for hidden conflicts of interest or other ethics trouble.

“You can picture a whole army of people with business before the government willing to step in here and make [the debt] go away,” said Marilyn Glynn, a former George W. Bush-era acting OGE director who worked in the office for 17 years.

There’s a lot more at the link.

  • AC

    what could possibly go wrong…

    • AmeriCanadian

      We shall soon see.

  • The_Wretched

    I hope they can be shamed into being a regular ethics office again.

    the whole notion of donations to the WH peeps defense funds is ethically iffy even without it being anon.

  • coram nobis

    Why don’t they call it The Consiglieri Fund?

    • Robincho

      Talk to their lawyers;

      Contanti & Soldi, LLC

      • coram nobis

        Weren’t they also serving the pizzo industry?

  • You can bet it’s only anonymous on paper. The donors will make a point of making sure the recipients know of their largesse and will call in their favors when ready.

  • Uncle Mark

    Just great…so Putin can just keep pumping money into his investment

  • PickyPecker
  • Rebecca Gardner

    That defeats the whole fucking purpose of the Ethics Agency.

    WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I cannot take all the bullshit going on. If we don’t stop it soon our country will be gone forever.

    • crewman

      In the Orwellian Trump administration “Ethics Agency” means “PR Agency”. Every agency is essentially a PR agency. Every director needs to be primarily concerned with what he can have his agency do to make Trump look good.

      • Lazycrockett

        Slush fund.

      • Rebecca Gardner

        In a time on universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

        • crewman

          Witness Russia. They are a few years further down the trajectory of where Trump would take us.

        • DonnaLee

          The only way to change it is to have any changes go thru some other channel before they’re implemented. But it makes sense that they will scream about something, then do this on the sly.

    • JaniceInToronto

      Probably too late now…

    • another_steve

      Depends on how Pelosi and Schumer play it. If they hand Trump anything that he could tout to his deplorables as a “Republican accomplishment,” we’re fucked.

      The key to ending this nightmare is getting his approval number down below 30 percent. At that point, all the congressional Republicans running for reelection next year will abandon him.

      Block any and all legislation that could even remotely be considered a “Trump accomplishment.”

      Win back the House in 2018.

    • Ninja0980

      It’s amazing how so many are okay with corruption if it means ticking off liberals etc., it truly is.

    • bandanajack

      too late…

  • billbear1961

    One MORE reason to be in the streets in massive and relentless protests before it’s TOO LATE!!

    This corruption is getting totally out of control, and it’s going to DESTROY this country!

    We need Trump’s financial records, secure elections, and moderates ONLY appointed to the courts!

    What’s the phone number of this ETHICS (!) Office?!

    • easygoingmister

      I looked it up just now…

      US Office of Gov Ethics
      David J. Apol, Acting Director & General Counsel
      Shelley K. Finlayson, Chief of Staff and Program Counsel

      Main Phone Number: (202) 482-9300
      TTY: (800) 877-8339

      By Mail
      U.S. Office of Government Ethics
      1201 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500
      Washington, DC 20005

      By Email: [email protected]

      Twitter: @OfficeGovEthics

      • billbear1961

        Thank you!

        • easygoingmister

          No problem. I am supposed to be setting up the office at our new place & dealing with the dang storage unit, but, honestly, I feel more like rioting (while blaring Hüsker Dü).

      • DonnaLee

        Oh look, another acting director, since Trump hasn’t made thousands of appointments.

  • easygoingmister

    Is this why there are revolutions? I mean WTF really! How can anyone ever think this is okay!

    (Grant Hart passing has made me super-supremus grumpy today.)

    • Uncle Mark

      I would suggest taking to the street with pitch forks and torches, but burning Republicans would make for better lighting, while sending a more fervent message.

      • William

        We need an American company to make a line of proper angry mob torches, the kind made from pitch and burlap. Those Tiki torches just look so gay.

  • boobert

    “anonymous donations” , hiding money is what trump does best !

    • Todd20036

      It’s one of the few things Trump does well

  • Max_1
    • thatotherjean

      A fat lot of good it will do them, but it is the right thing to do.

  • Uncle Mark

    How nice to avoid the middle-man by donating money directly to Trump’s legal fund. I’m sure the Koch Bros, Mercers, Putin, coal & oil industries, etc. were tired of supporting that effort by buying those hideous, overpriced hats

    • William

      We know what all their friends are getting for Christmas.

    • canoebum

      You just know The Orange Menace gets his cut off the top of all donations. The Skim is back.

  • Lazycrockett

    Well this just screams innocent.

  • Lazycrockett

    https://twitter.com/brianstelter/status/908374920949723136

    While I enjoy Trevor I’m pretty amazed that CC would lock him in for this long of a time period.

    • Lizard

      Because they–and we–need him. At this point, the left-leaning satirical talk shows are more news than actual news channels.

  • William

    Will Putin write checks or do a direct bank transfer?

    • Uncle Mark

      I’m sure there’s a shared account at the Russian Alfa Bank

  • Hank

    Ethics? Ethics? WE don’t need no damned Ethics!!!!…. WE are Rethuglicans!!!!.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Well, he’s gonna need every dime he raises!

  • Professor Barnhardt
    • William

      Walt is trying to get his jaw up off the table.

    • Lizard

      Check upthread!

  • William
  • Halou

    And this is totally not going to be used by Trump’s foreign enablers to launder vast amounts of money.

    • Hank

      I hope, that Mueller is ALL over this!!!

  • greenmanTN
  • Lazycrockett
  • MBear

    Someone get these people a dictionary with the word “ethics” highlighted.

    Wait, do yall have dictionaries in the US?

    • Uncle Mark

      We do have dictionaries, but these reptiles don’t like to read, preferring to make up their own definitions. They do the same thing with their bibles too

      • whollyfool

        Merriam Webster may highlight it on their Twitter account

  • another_steve

    May I repeat, once again and ad nauseam, this:

    There is a criminal enterprise operating out of the White House.

    • Hank

      It is just an extension of Drumpf Tower in NYC! Cannot wait for AG Schneiderman to take it down!!!

  • JWC

    Another unannounced stink bomb

  • Gustav2

    Draining the swamp! /s

  • AtticusP

    The Trump administration’s Office of Ethics. Talk about the ultimate oxymoron.

  • safari
  • BearEyes

    this will be so much easier to all that money laundering without all those pesky middlemen taking a cut

  • Treant

    Now we seem to need an Office of Ethics of the Office of Ethics to monitor the Office of Ethics.

    Shocker. On the up side, anonymous donations can still be traced…and it’s fuel for Mueller’s fire.

  • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

    This duplicitous woman has got to go.

    Pelosi says she trusts Trump’s sincerity on protecting Dreamers

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-pelosi/pelosi-says-she-trusts-trumps-sincerity-on-protecting-dreamers-idUSKCN1BP27U

    • William

      Nancy should have stepped aside back in January.

      • kareemachan

        Come on, if you don’t think she knows the score, you’re delusional.

        • Gianni

          That’s so true! Nancy has been in the game for a long time and knows all the twists and turns. Donnie is a totally inexperienced political chump. She has the stones and smarts he’ll never have.

      • canoebum

        After she won you your health care, right?

        • The_Wretched

          Being good at passing legislation when you’re the Speaker is different than being good as an opposition party. Not the same skill set.

      • greenmanTN

        Maybe I’m the dreamer, but I think we might get this one. The majority of the country is for it and this gives cover for the GOP to pass it, and if they do it won’t be as vulnerable as an EO. The rub is going to be the ridiculous and onerous rules they invent as a pathway to citizenship.

    • Treant

      The actual translation from Poli-speak (which Pelosi speaks perfectly) is, “I have so much shit on this guy that he wouldn’t dare cross me. And now even his own party is abandoning him. The goal is retaking the House in 2018, at which point we take everything and give him a few scraps, pat him on the head, and call him a good boy.”

  • Richard, another Canuck

    This is corruption at the highest level and should not be permitted. Period!

  • Halou

    Just another layer of corporate control, a way for mega corporations to “lobby” politicians. They’re not going to merely finance the gullible and the greedy, they are going to actively seek out compromised individuals who they can install to power and then control with threats to expose scandals and/or dry up the defense funds.

  • HomerTh

    I guess the Russian government will be making lots of contributions.

    • Halou

      Oh, but there will be no donations from the Russian government, it’ll all come from “anonymous”. The fact that the same amount of money leaves Russian government accounts at the same time is just a coincidence.

      • bambinoitaliano

        Russian bots disguise as good old farmers and ranchers donating their hard earn money they never have.

        • The_Wretched

          Support payments to russian veterans and expats. it’s a known route.

          • bambinoitaliano

            I’m sure Jason Chaffetz will dole out his dead grandfather corpse to showcase as the fine example.

          • Halou

            They do a similar but different thing with pensions in eastern Europe. Having whinged and whined for years about the matter the Baltic states have agreed to let Russia pay the pensions of any ethnic Russians in the region. Russia then promptly started paying Russian pension rates to these people rather than the domestic rates knowing that it would put them at a disadvantage, only to start complaining that their people are being “persecuted” and impoverished and blaming the Baltic governments for it.

            Now, Russia has an instant reason to incite a riot any time someone attempts to address this issue they created. Either demanding Russia pay proper pensions in which case it’s holding the lives of Russians as hostage. Or by stopping the Russian pensions and reintroducing domestic ones, it’s tantamount to kidnapping.

    • bambinoitaliano

      You forgot about those filthy rich middle men from the Middle East.

      • Halou

        Trump owns two properties in Istanbul, with trademarks registered and renewed in both Egypt and Saudi. Plus a golf course in Dubai.

  • Max_1
  • William

    OT – Meanwhile, this is going on in eastern Europe. American tanks arrived in the port of Gdansk Wednesday. Russia and Belarus are having their war games against fictional countries in the area.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edd78fa4e105038716af543736e441c4ab43e63dfd7dc593791f82e7a04c1dbd.jpg Russia

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/u-army-sends-two-tank-160143238.html

    • Halou

      The area where the war games are being held, apparently the leading opposition party polled higher there during the last ‘election’ than they did anywhere else in the country. I’m sure that has nothing to do with anything.

      • William

        The area of Belarus that is portraying the fictional nation of Veisnoriya is the part of the territory that belonged to Poland before the Soviet invasion in 1939. I’m sure there’s no subtle message there.

        • Gustav2

          And the Russians pulled the “games” stunt before the Ukraine “intervention.”

          • Halou

            And before their war against Georgia, the one that little Georgia totally started. /s

          • William

            Stalin set up that exercise decades ago.

      • William

        The other thing about the Veisnoriya region is it’s the Catholic majority area of Belarus. The eastern part is Orthodox.

    • Halou

      Aside from threatening the opposition parties in Belarus, this is also clearly a way for them to practice closing the Suwalki gap, that ever so short border between Poland and Lithuania which, if closed, will mean the entire Baltic region with it’s fewer than 20,000 lightly armed soldiers cannot be reinforced should Russia’s 110,000+ strong western army decide to go on a nice holiday to the seaside. The single Baltic tank will have to fend off the five hundred plus tanks that make up the First Guards Tank Army with no hope of relief.

      • William

        To think that in the early 1990s, Russia offered to sell the Kaliningrad Oblast back to Germany. The Germans were busy bringing the east up to standards, they didn’t want to take on more expenses.

        It’s interesting how many of these Russian exercise maps have arrows showing movement across the Suwalki Gap.

      • William

        Here’s a nice article about Veisnorija:

        http://belarusfeed.com/vive-la-vaisnoria-zapad-2017/

  • kareemachan

    “We gladly take cash, checks, money orders, credit cards, and rubles.”

    • Jeffg166

      Pay pal?

      • kareemachan

        Of course!

    • thatotherjean

      Mostly rubles

    • William

      Swiss Francs are preferred over Rubles.

    • bambinoitaliano

      Bitcoins?

  • Jeffg166

    IOKIYAR

  • Professor Barnhardt
  • Gerry Fisher

    I know we weren’t perfect before, but they’re chipping away at our foundations, piece by piece

    • Jeffg166

      More like nuking it.

  • Rex

    There’s an office of government ethics?
    Could have fooled me.

    • FAEN

      You know they had to look up the word ‘ethics’ when they got to their desks.

      • bambinoitaliano

        It’s another race they detested. Hence intend to get rid of it like the rest.

      • Treant

        “Eth comes from Ether, meaning airy or nothing, while ics means icky, disgusting. So we don’t need the office because doing nothing is disgusting.” –Republican playbook

    • tbj5

      Its the one Congress tried to shutter Day 1. And the head of it quit a month or two ago because Trump’s government is so corrupt and no one else was trying to stop it.

      • The_Wretched

        Walter Shaub, there’s a link below to his bit in the NYT today.

  • FAEN

    But of course-this makes complete sense in Cheeto Land.

    🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

  • shellback

    I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but does anyone else think it’s time to start organizing a march on Washington – with or without pitchforks and torches. Think: Overthrow the FUCKING NAZIS.

    • bambinoitaliano

      It’s been flaring Russian red since the inauguration.

  • Gustav2

    Gee, I just scanned some of the Right Wingnut Media sites, and strangely this is not being reported.

    • Treant

      Do I need to show you my surprised face again?

      • Gustav2

        I was shocked! Shocked I tell you!

  • tbj5

    This is bad.

    Can anyone sue the government to keep this from happening? Because this has to be flagrantly unconstitutional.

    • Moebym of the Returners

      Unconstitutional like nearly everything else this administration has done.

  • Talisman

    Because, in this administration, greed is good and profit is king.

    • Gustav2

      Now, now, just because the Trump boys have Gordon Gekko hair

    • Rex

      That’s all Trump has known his entire life, and he’s surrounding himself with others just like him.

      • JWC

        I still feel that when and if Mueller is done with Trump he is going to be proven not a fraction as Rich as he thinks he is

  • Blake J Butler
    • anne marie in philly

      oh suh-NAP, girlfriend!

    • ColdCountry

      Much more his speed! Well, not the subject matter, just how it is presented.

  • canoebum

    This is real banana republic level corruption. I’d expect to see this in Bolivia or or Honduras, but here it’s just a disgrace. My, how the mighty have fallen!

    • Blake J Butler

      But just several months ago “her emails” and “I don’t trust her” were the biggest throwaways to support baby Huey or latte liberal stein.

      Now it’s a disgrace everyday of the week.

      • Ninja0980

        And those folks will let it happen again unless we all worship St. Bernie.
        Fuck all of them.

  • MassageBear

    The OGE now has accumulated so many ethics since January 20, 2017 that they now can have a sale and sell some off.

    • greenmanTN

      It’s a sellers’ (out) market.

  • anne marie in philly

    JFC, WHEN will this shit dictatorship end???

    • Halou

      Why do you think he’s buttering up the military with a $53 billion budget bonus? “Second Amendment People” alone just wont be enough to hold down the righteous anger of an oppressed underclass, he needs more firepower!

  • bambinoitaliano
  • Tomcat

    Who needs a Federal Ethics Agency if it has no intentions of maintaining ethics??????

  • bambinoitaliano

    If you want to know why the Republicans will get elected again in Florida.
    https://twitter.com/BillyCorben/status/887846028627628036

    • Tomcat

      If that had been a black man he would be a dead man walking.

    • Shooting out their tires will certainly get those trucks to drive away more quickly.

    • Tomcat

      He also was seen by police on arriving shooting at the bucket where a man was standing and yet once in jail was allowed to bond out immediately.
      ONLY IN FLORIDUH.

    • Tomcat

      They did not move their trucks fast enough so he made sure they could not move the trucks at all. Wonderful Floriduh you can shoot all you want then claim something snapped inside you. I will never again step foot in Floriduh.

    • Tomcat

      Legally I guess the ATT repairmen could have shot him in his tracks.
      Such a shame they are decent people just doing their jobs.

      • bambinoitaliano

        The asshat should have his arm carrying license revoke and all his weapons confiscated. Make him go through the whole education program before he is allow to legally carry again.

        • Tomcat

          Kind of extreme for Floriduh, don’t you think?
          But seriously, he should NEVER be allowed to carry again for any reason.

    • Tomcat

      Cops are not even allowed to do that because the bullets could hit someone.
      Yet this asshole was out in less than a few hours without even seeing a judge.

      • customartist

        What about a mental evaluation?

    • coram nobis

      Hello? AT&T Legal Department? Your name is Sue? How do you do?

    • William

      The street is not his property. Dude needs to lay off the testosterone supplements.

    • David Raymore

      Is he trying to be Grandpa Simpson? Get off my lawn type. I wonder why he snapped like that? I guess he has early signs of dementia are setting in this man

    • Hank

      why oh why oh why oh did I ever leave ohio

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JljT7EP_LVE

    • 2guysnamedjoe

      Gee, I wonder who he voted for.

    • customartist

      We don’t need no stinkin’ background checks

  • Tomcat

    I see right now that IF and I say IF Democrats ever control everything they need to create a lot of new laws to protect us from ourselves.

  • safari

    Donald is repeating his greatest acts in FL
    https://twitter.com/HallieJackson/status/908385598473478145

    • greenmanTN

      No doubt, President TinyMeat.

    • Halou

      That is a load of bullshit, things like that are planned and prepared in advance with the correct sized gloves made available to avoid situations like this. The only reason they would be too small is if Trump or a member of his staff arranged for it to be that way.

      The small hands joke started all the way back in 1984! Trump needs to get the fuck over it already.

  • another_steve

    Is Joe going to post that picture of the Huckabee woman in that horrid striped white thing – again, today?

    I’m worried.

    • Jonathan Smith

      I’m ready to ignore her

      • Silver Badger

        I always do. She is just spouting lies and propaganda. Why waste my life on lies?

        • Beagle

          I’ll do what I always do — read the JMG thread. The snark provides good entertainment value.

      • another_steve

        It’s like, “I won’t look at that pink elephant in a tutu over there – dancing with a naked Brad Pitt.”

        Very difficult to muster up that degree of self-discipline.

        • Karl Dubhe

          Ummm, I’d much rather look at a pink elephant. With or without the extras.

          In fact; DRINK! 🙂

  • Pip
    • Christopher

      Apparently it is now.

      Where the fuck do we go from here?

      • customartist

        Up. Can we possibly sink any lower?

        • Christopher

          Do. Not. Set. A. Bar.

          Please!

    • Friday

      Though I guess plasma TVs are already obsolete and you should want an OLED. 🙂

  • Christopher
  • Tomcat

    So now how long until laws get changed to allow foreign countries to give to elections legally, (because we already know they do give to elections)?

    • Halou

      Or the Trump regime could just stop pretending and allow foreign heads of state to be put on the ballot. And not as a joke poll for the British monarchy to be restored.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    My only question is, did those checks Trump more than likely sent to the “Ethics Agency” clear before they made this change? Come on, I’m not the only one who’s thinking this. As of now, the word “ethics” must appear with quotes at all times.

    • Tomcat

      They ALL work for him so they do what the boss wants.
      Don’t need no stinkin ethics here.

  • Tomcat

    If there is a god he will talk to someone and tell them to stop this enemy of the people.

    • customartist

      waits…………………………………………………………….

  • Tomcat

    Poll: If trump were killed how many of you would take the day off to celebrate?
    I would take the whole year off to celebrate.

    • William

      It depends on the method. I’d want something really messy. Jet engine from 30,000 feet perhaps?

      • customartist

        Run thru a chipper feet first in a public square,…not that I have contemplated such

    • Beagle

      Moot point for some of us. The day of the funeral would most likely be declared a National Day of Mourning, and the federal government would be closed in recognition. That’s the standard practice when a former president dies.
      Not that any sort of mourning would be required. When Nixon died, The Husband and I took The Husband’s mother out to lunch and ran a few errands. One colleague boycotted the National Day of Mourning by going in to work.

      • 2guysnamedjoe

        Well, as a patriotic murtikkkan, I plan to observe the National Picosecond of Mourning. I’ll then contribute, to the best of my ability, to removing, or at least neutering, the slimeballs in the line of succession.

    • If Trump dies Pence is in charge, and so on, and so on. Better a snap election than an assassination.

    • 2guysnamedjoe

      I have a short list of existing and future graves I plan to piss on. Drümpf’s grave, however, is in an entirely different category; his grave/toxic disposal site demands a major dump.

    • customartist

      Case of champagne

  • netxtown

    There is no such thing as an “anonymous donor”. That is a phrase concocted solely to obscure a donor who doesn’t want to be identified due to potential issues. And the “Ethics” committee damned well knows it.

    • customartist

      Anonymous to the voting public

  • Message from administration legal team to staffers: “Youse guys need to find some rich outsiders to help you with your legal bills. Your boss-who-people-think-is-a-billionaire-but-probably-isn’t won’t be giving any of you a dime but hopes there’s no hard feelings. Please don’t rat him out! Thanks! Luv ya!”

  • lymis

    Good, we wouldn’t want to know whether any Russians are paying for legal defense of the president for colluding with them.

  • Tomcat

    I do not believe anything having to do with MY government should be allowed to be anonymous period. Fucking republicans hate honest government.

  • Tomcat

    Can’t anyone other than just Mueller do something to help America?
    Surely there are still some honest politicians out there that are willing to do something.

    • customartist

      Dems rejected Bernie [or at least the ones in charge at the crucial time, may she rest in pisse]

  • Friday

    More overt corruption from the Republicans.

    • customartist

      It’s their only product

  • Niblet58

    More Russian money laundering?

    • customartist

      Endless supply

  • Ben in Oakland

    Nothing says ethics and accountability like anonymity.

  • Gene Perry
  • Westcoast88

    Making America Even More Corrupt

  • Chris Gardner

    Fast forward 6 months and Mueller and his team will be investigating anonymous donations made by shell companies linked to Russia.

  • jimbo65

    Apparently the Trumpanzees don’t give a shit about government ethics. As long as the brown people are run out of town on a rail.

  • Ann Kah

    1. What is the purpose of an “ethics” agency?
    2. Has anybody told them what their job is?
    3. Why not?

    • 2guysnamedjoe

      A lot depends on who they are and who appointed them.

  • JCF
  • leastyebejudged

    END THE USA.

  • customartist

    Do these same qualifications apply to Politicians as well?

    The Ethics Department needs an Ethics Investigation