White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said today that ethics requirements prevent good people from serving in government. On an appearance on "Fox & Friends," she said that completing financial disclosure forms that are released to the public is burdensome.
Conway was discussing the plight of new communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who in his first week on the job falsely claimed that his financial-disclosure form was leaked to Politico.
“There are so many qualified men and women who wanted to serve this president, this administration and their country who have been completely demoralized and completely, I think, disinclined to do so, based on the paperwork that we have to put forward, divesting assets, the different hoops you have to run through,” Conway said. “This White House is transparent and accountable, and we’ve all complied with those rules, but it has disincentivized good men and women. I hope it doesn’t disincentivize Anthony.”
On Wednesday, Scaramucci complained on Twitter that his forms had been leaked. Reporters reminded him that the form was publicly available from the Office of Government Ethics.
The head of the office, Walter Shaub, resigned this month after the White House flouted his recommendations.
In today's “Fox & Friends” appearance, Conway again incorrectly called the reporting of Scaramucci's paperwork a leak and, additionally, a threat to him. “He’s making clear that even though the documents are eventually procurable publicly, that somebody doesn’t want him here, and somebody is trying to get in his way and scare him off from working here, which is a huge mistake."
President Trump has declared war on White House leaks, prodding his "beleaguered" (in his words) attorney general Jeff Sessions to crack down on them. Since the beginning of Trump's administration, a flood of articles have been published with anonymous sources close to the president. A May 10 Washington Post piece on Trump's firing of James Comey has 30 sources close to the White House, intelligence community and Capitol Hill.