Like his predecessors, President Trump submitted a financial disclosure to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) for the year of his election. Unlike, Presidents Obama, Bush, and others before them, Trump tried to get out of signing the disclosure to verify that it was true.
The revelation comes from the Associated Press, which obtained letters from Trump’s lawyer, Sheri Dillon, through a Freedom of Information Act request.
On at least two occasions, Dillon asserted to OGE director Walter Shaub that there was no need for Trump to verify the veracity of his disclosure because it was a voluntary act. For Shaub, the premise was a nonstarter, and he replied that OGE would only accept the disclosure if Trump adhered to the same practices as the thousands of other government employees who make financial disclosures every year.
“Thank you for your letter dated May 9, 2017, regarding the President’s decision to adhere to the longstanding tradition of voluntarily filing a public financial disclosure report in the first year after taking office,” Shaub wrote.
“As we discussed, OGE will provide this assistance on the condition that the President is committed to certifying that the contents of his report are true, complete and correct,” read Shaub’s response. “When we met on April 27, 2017, you requested that he be excused from providing this certification.”
Trump’s unprecedented move blows holes in his claim that he should not have to provide his tax returns because of the details in his disclosures — details he would rather not verify. It also evokes questions of why Trump would so flagrantly fight for his right to lie to the government and what the disclosure contained that he is afraid to stand by. If Trump is not willfully lying on his disclosure, why would he rather look like a liar than sign his name to the truth?
After all, the guy loves his name.
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com