But in a May 17 letter, Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, questioned whether the Office of Government Ethics has legal jurisdiction to get information about waivers that have been granted. He said the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel may needed to be consulted.
“I therefore request that you stay the data call until these questions are resolved,” Mulvaney wrote Shaub in a letter first reported by the New York Times.
Shaub responded forcefully with a nine-page letter to Mulvaney Monday night, denying his request to back off.
“The unusual nature of your letter highlights OGE’s responsibility to lead the executive branch ethics program with independence, free from political pressure,” he wrote. “Accordingly, OGE declines your request to suspend its ethics inquiry.”
The letter, posted by OGE’s official Twitter account, was accompanied by voluminous documents attesting to the agency’s authority to collect information, examples of the executive branch complying with past requests and previous calls by lawmakers for OGE to disclose such data in a public format.