Trump names lawyer as new acting ethics chief

Associated Press

Washington — President Donald Trump designated a veteran government lawyer Friday as a temporary replacement for a former ethics chief who sparred repeatedly with the White House over the handling of its officials’ finances.

The Office of Government Ethics confirmed Friday that Trump designated the agency’s general counsel, David J. Apol, to become its acting director. In a statement on its website, the agency said Apol “is honored to continue his 30 years of service to the ethics community.”

Apol has been OGE’s top lawyer since 2014 and previously served as a counsel as the U.S. Trade Representative. He also served for a period in the Clinton White House, where he worked on ethics issues. And he helped develop an ethics program at the Labor Department.

Apol replaces Walter Shaub, an Obama administration appointee who resigned earlier this month from the agency. Shaub quit after repeated conflicts with the Trump administration over how it has applied government ethics standards to White House and agency officials.

Shaub now works for the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit legal watchdog group. In a statement Friday, Shaub said the White House had “played politics” in choosing a temporary OGE chief. Shaub said that under OGE succession rules, the White House should have designated his chief of staff, Shelley Finlayson, for the temporary post.