White House ethics lawyer James Schultz, has reportedly decided to resign.
Schultz, a lawyer working in the Trump Administration, resigned last week an has plans to return to his private law at the Philadelphia-based law firm, Cozen O’Conner, according to Politico. Schultz came on board at the White House at the beginning of Trump’s presidency and was responsible for handling ethics and financial disclosure issues.
According to Politico, Schultz’s decision to return to private law was made on his own and was not influenced by any controversies surrounding President Trump and his administration. Schultz told Politico he is returning to private practice and his family in Philadelphia.
“That was something Don [McGahn, the White House counsel] and I discussed very early on,” Schultz told Politico.
“I was interested in continuing with private practice and saw this as a tremendous opportunity to go serve and get things up and running and the plan was to move on about this time.” Schultz added that people typically stay in these positions for about a year to 18 months.
Although Schultz is shifting gears and returning to private law in Philadelphia, he still has plans to support Trump and participate in TV debate concerning conflicts of interest involving the Trump Administration but will focus more on his private law.
“I will be out, but I don’t plan to make a career out of being a pundit on TV. … I’m planning to have a robust law practice,” Schultz said to Politico.
Schultz believes a lot of the media attention to ethics issues within the Trump Administration is because several members of the Cabinet and other elite White House positions have connections to large businesses, which may raise the concern of conflicts of interests. Shultz said some of the concern has been “exaggerated and distorted.”
“There has been undue attention. … We’ve been more onerous in making people divest and recuse than the agencies would have required,” Schultz said. “Some in the news media unfairly criticize this administration and take every opportunity to take shots, even when they’re not justified.”
Schultz served as a deputy to the White House’s senior ethics official, Deputy White House Counsel Stefan Passantino.