President Trump allegedly sought to submit federal ethics forms that detail his wealth without signing them, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The AP reported:
“Attorney Sheri Dillon said she saw no need for Trump to sign his 2016 personal financial disclosure because he is filing voluntarily this year. But OGE director Walter Shaub said his office would only work with Dillon if she agreed to follow the typical process of having Trump make the certification.”
The OGE would process the forms, Shaub wrote in a letter earlier this month, “on the condition that the President is committed to certifying that the contents of his report are true, complete and correct. … When we met on April 27, 2017, you requested that he be excused from providing this certification.”
The Associated Press received the correspondence through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Following the report, a person with familiar with the matter told The Hill that Trump’s lawyer had asked if the trustees of Trump’s revokable trust should be the ones signing the documents “given that the president is prevented from having direct, contemporaneous knowledge about the changes in the compensation and values of the assets and liabilities contained in the trust.”
The Hill added:
“Wealthy officials and lawmakers often put their assets into trusts and sign the disclosures because they are making a good faith verification that the forms are correct to the best of their knowledge, even if they aren’t aware of the actual values.
Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, manage the trust. Trump is still fairly close to the trust, according to a New York Times review in February, and still gets reports about profits or losses as a whole. He can also remove the trustees at any time.
Trump has resisted calls to set up a blind trust for his assets, saying that he is not required by law to do so.
The OGE is an independent agency that, among other things, writes guidance on ethics rules for the executive branch and collects the personal financial disclosures from officials.”
The financial reports are required for many senior officials, but the commander in chief is not obligated to submit one. Previous presidents, however, have opted to file them annually.
“Refusing to sign your OGE financial disclosure form is like refusing to take the oath before testimony,” Richard Painter, the former chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, tweeted on Friday.
Refusing to sign your OGE financial disclosure form is like refusing to take the oath before testimony. https://t.co/JZvbmbULBA
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) May 19, 2017