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Walter Shaub, Ethics Director Resigns: Says Rules Need to be Tougher

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Political Editor, LeNora Millen

Walter Shaub, Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, who on numerous occasions criticized President Trump for his business interests, announced his resignation on Thursday.

Shaub’s decision to leave office is six months before the completion of his term. In a letter to Trump, which Shaub also posted on his Twitter account, notes he will officially step down from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) on July 19, 2017.

“The great privilege and honor of my career has been to lead OGE’s staff and the community of ethics officials in the federal executive branch,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “They are committed to protecting the principle that public service is public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.”

Outgoing ethics director Walter Shaub said in January that President Trump’s plan to reduce conflicts of interest “doesn’t meet the standards … that every president in the past four decades has met.” Claire Harbage/NPR

Schaub worked more than a decade in the ethics office—as the attorney heading the presidential nomination program, under then-President Barack Obama, was set to end his term in January 2018.

Serving in the OGE under both Democrat and Republican president’s, Schaub began his tenure with the department during the George W. Bush administration and later becoming the agency’s director under former President Barack Obama in 2013.

Schaub has clashed several times with the Trump, openly criticizing him for failing to relinquish ownership of his real-estate and licensing businesses.

Prior to President Trump’s swearing in as president, Shaub displayed frustration surrounding his business practices, stating they did not meet federal ethics standards.

The Office of Government Ethics’ official Twitter account tweeted about how the newly elected president wavered about whether he would disconnect himself from his businesses.

“Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, good for America!” the tweets read.

Earlier this year, he urged the White House to discipline presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway for endorsing first daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. He also called on the White House to allow his office to review and publicly disclose ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists to work in the administration.

Shaub’s new role will be at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit focused on political and election law, to head up its ethics practice.

“In working with the current administration, it has become clear to me that we need improvements to the existing ethics program. I look forward to working toward that aim at Campaign Legal Center, as well as working on ethics reforms at all levels of government,” Shaub said in a statement released by the center on Thursday.

Former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission Trevor Potter, head of the Campaign Legal Center added,

“It’s imperative that we sustain a culture of high ethical standards in our government,” Potter said in a statement. “Walt, in serving the American public at the OGE under three presidents, has demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and integrity. All of us at CLC are thrilled to have him join us in our continuing work to protect and improve our democracy.”

Trump, is now tasked with selecting the next federal ethics watchdog, a five-year position that requires Senate confirmation as a result of Schaub’s resignation.

The Sunlight Foundation said Congress should take Shaub’s resignation seriously.

“This resignation, unfortunately, may weaken the work of a crucial federal agency that has been overwhelmed by ethics requests from the public and addressing the complex finances and associated conflicts from Trump’s wealthy nominees,” the civic organization wrote. “The Office of Government Ethics protects the nation from corruption and helps every administration avoid scandal.”

In a letter sent to supporters of the Campaign Legal Center, President Trevor Potter said Shaub has a “long track record of holding accountable government officials on both sides of the political aisle.”

“It’s imperative that we sustain a culture of high ethical standards in our government,” Potter, a Republican lawyer who has worked with Sen. John McCain and Stephen Colbert, said in a separate statement. “Walt, in serving the American public at the OGE under three presidents, has demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and integrity. All of us at CLC are thrilled to have him join us in our continuing work to protect and improve our democracy.”

 

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Business

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeared as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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Business

TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

More from CNN…

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