President Donald Trump may have not been entirely accurate about the state of his finances, given the latest revelation about his financial disclosure form.
As President of the United States, Trump is obligated to submit a form publicly disclosing his income, assets, and liabilities to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), in order to give the public a clear picture on whether or not the head of the federal government is improperly using their position to financially benefit from their decisions.
However, Trump Organization attorney Sheri Dillon reportedly asked the OGE to accept Trump’s financial disclosure form without his signature. As the Associated Press pointed out, without his signature, Trump would not be held legally liable for any inaccurate statements in the form if found to be false. Dillon argued that because Trump was submitting the form voluntarily, he shouldn’t be subjected to the signature requirement.
Walter Shaub, director of the OGE, refused Dillon’s request, and insisted that the form be signed before it would be accepted by the executive branch’s ethical oversight agency.
“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 a May 10 letter from Shaub, which the AP obtained by way of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. “When we met on April 27, 2017, you requested that he be excused from providing this certification.”
Former acting OGE director and general counsel Marilyn Glynn told the AP that the request was highly unusual.
“I’ve never heard of anyone trying this,” Glynn said. “It would be as unusual as not signing your taxes.”
Trump has pointed to his financial disclosure form as the chief excuse for breaking longstanding tradition of presidents making their tax returns public. The last major party nominee to not release their tax returns was Republican Gerald Ford, who became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation.
Dillon indicated that all required forms would be signed and submitted by mid-June to be in compliance with OGE rules.
Tom Cahill is a senior editor for the Resistance Report based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Facebook by clicking here.