POLITICS
01/15/2017 12:06 pm ET

Reince Priebus Warns Ethics Chief To 'Be Careful'

The director has called for Donald Trump to fully divest his assets before he assumes the presidency.

Rick Wilking/Reuters
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus warned that he felt the head of the government ethics office was getting very political.

WASHINGTON ― Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus warned the head of the Office of Government Ethics on Sunday to “be careful” in his criticisms of President-elect Donald Trump.

OGE Director Walter Shaub last week panned Trump’s plan to address his business conflicts as “meaningless,” marking the second time the director called on the president-elect to fully divest his assets before he assumes the presidency this week. 

“The head of the government ethics ought to be careful because that person is becoming extremely political,” Priebus said on ABC News’ “This Week.”

The outgoing chairman of the Republican National Committee further suggested that Shaub supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

“So I’m not sure what this person at government ethics, what sort of standing he has any more in giving these opinions,” he said.

Shaub’s extraordinary decision to speak out drew the ire of Republicans. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, accused Shaub of “blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance” in a letter Thursday.

During a separate appearance Sunday on “This Week,” Chaffetz further called into question Shaub’s statements, claiming he had “never done an investigation and never looked at the paperwork in the point where he can actually come to a reasonable conclusion.”

Asked whether he, as chair of the House Oversight Committee, would look into Trump’s conflicts of interest around the world, Chaffetz said he had “no plans to do that at this point.”

“I’m not just going to go on these fishing expeditions,” he said. “I didn’t do that with President Obama. We didn’t go through this with President Obama. I think the world and certainly the American voters understand that Donald Trump has mass holdings. He’s worth billions of dollars. He’s been very successful in business. And I think the American voters understood that when they voted him in.” 

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