Walter Shaub

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Walter Shaub
Portrait photograph of Walter Shaub
Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics
In office
January 9, 2013 – July 19, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byDon Fox (Acting)
Succeeded byDavid J. Apol (Acting)
Personal details
Walter Michael Shaub Jr.

Virginia, U.S.
EducationJames Madison University (BA)
American University (JD)

Walter Michael Shaub Jr. (born February 20, 1971) is an American attorney specializing in government ethics who, from January 9, 2013 to July 19, 2017,[1] was the director of the United States Office of Government Ethics.[2] As of July 19, 2017, he joined the Washington D.C.-based election law organization the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) as Senior Director, Ethics.[3][4][5][6]


Early career[edit]

Shaub graduated from South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia.[7] He earned a B.A. degree in history from James Madison University, then earned his J.D. degree from American University Washington College of Law. From 1997 to 2004 he was an attorney in federal agencies including the Office of Government Ethics, the main office of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of General Counsel of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Baltimore–Washington Regional Counsel's office. In 2004, he became an attorney at the Shaw, Bransford, Veilleux and Roth law firm.

Office of Government Ethics[edit]

In 2006, Shaub joined the Office of Government Ethics to become the attorney in charge of the Presidential nomination program. He held this position for two years before becoming the Deputy General Counsel in 2008. In 2013, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to a five-year term as the director of the Office of Government Ethics.[8]

As Director, Shaub was outspoken with concerns about the Trump administration during the transition period before he took office. He delivered a speech on January 11, 2017 regarding concerns with the president-elect's refusal to divest his assets and, instead, place them in trust managed by his sons.[9][10] Shaub was also the author of a series of tweets published on the Office of Government Ethics Twitter account, which gained media attention for breaking from the account's typically serious tone to mimic Donald Trump's tweeting style and congratulate him on his announcement that he would divest himself of his business assets.[9][11][12]

On April 28, 2017, Shaub issued a data call directing the White House, agency ethics officials, Inspectors General, and the White House to produce copies of the ethics waivers given to ex-lobbyists in the executive branch.[13] Writing on behalf of the administration on May 17, 2017, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney sent Shaub a letter that seemed to question OGE's authority to collect the requested ethics records.[14] Mulvaney sent copies of his letter to every General Counsel and every designated agency ethics official in the executive branch.[14]

On May 22, Shaub responded by sending a ten-page letter reasserting OGE's authority to collect ethics records, including ethics waivers, to Mulvaney,[15] Shaub copied the same individuals Mulvaney had copied and added the inspectors general, as well as the six members of Congress responsible for government oversight,[16] On May 26, Mulvaney sent a second letter denying that his first letter had questioned OGE's authority and, this time, providing the information requested by Shaub's original data call.[17] Thereafter, on May 30, the White House complied with Shaub's data call by posting its waivers online.[18] On August 1, Senators Chuck Grassley, Dianne Feinstein and Gary Peters sent a bipartisan letter to Mulvaney demanding that the White House continue releasing its waivers on a continuing basis.[19] On September 21, OGE's acting Director, David Apol, issued a memorandum declaring that the White House would comply with this congressional request.[20] On October 19, the White House released a second batch of waivers on its website.[21]

On July 6, 2017, Walter Shaub submitted his resignation, effective July 19, 2017, saying that ethics rules should be tighter.[1]

Campaign Legal Center[edit]

After resigning as OGE director, Shaub joined the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan organization of election-law experts located in Washington DC. He serves as the Senior Director, Ethics.[22]

In that position Shaub said of the United States and the Trump administration, "[we] are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point."[23] In an interview with Judy Woodruff of PBS, Shaub was highly critical of the Trump Administration. He described, "the White House that has set a tone from the top that ethics doesn't matter."[24] He was highly critical of naming an acting director, to avoid the Senate confirmation process.

Shaub is concerned that, under Trump, the United States government will be seen as a kleptocracy. Shaub maintains that Trump uses his hotels and other properties for government business, which Shaub maintains amounts to free advertising. Shaub said, "His actions create the appearance of profiting from the presidency, and the appearance here is everything, because the demand I'm making is so much more than 'have a clean heart'. It's: 'Have a clean heart and act appropriately,'"[25]

Shaub has vocally supported the need for the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections to remain independent of White House interference by President Donald Trump and his associates. On December 15, 2017, Shaub issued a warning to Trump, saying that "firing Mueller is a red line he must not cross."[26][27]


  1. ^ a b Overby, P., Geewax, M. Ethics Office Director Walter Shaub Resigns, Saying Rules Need To Be Tougher. July 6, 20171:01 PM ET
  2. ^ "Ethics Office Warns Confirmations For Trump Nominees Are Moving Too Fast". Retrieved 2017-01-11.
  3. ^ "OGE Director Walter M. Shaub, Jr. to Join CLC and Lead Ethics Practice". Campaign Legal Center. 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  4. ^ "Reporters Should Focus on Ethical Norms, not just Legal Violations". Campaign Legal Center. 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  5. ^ "Government Ethics Director Speaks National Press Club, Jul 28 2017 |". Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  6. ^ Shaub, Walter M.; Jr (2017-07-18). "Opinion | Walter Shaub: How to Restore Government Ethics in the Trump Era". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  7. ^ Montgomery, David (March 30, 2017). "How the U.S. ethics chief took on Trump and became a reluctant Washington hero". Washington Post.
  8. ^ Biography of Walter M. Shaub, Jr (PDF) (Report). United States Office of Government Ethics. December 16, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Rein, Lisa (January 11, 2017). "Federal ethics chief blasts Trump's plan to break from businesses, calling it 'inadequate'". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  10. ^ "OGE Director Walter Shaub asks Trump to do more to resolve conflicts of interest,". YouTube. The Brookings Institution. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  11. ^ Selyukh, Alina (December 30, 2016). "U.S. Ethics Chief Was Behind Those Tweets About Trump, Records Show". National Public Radio. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  12. ^ "Official U.S. Ethics Office Got Snarky With Donald Trump on Twitter". Fortune. Reuters. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  13. ^ "Office of Government Ethics, Memorandum to Chief of Staff to the President, Agency Heads, Designated Agency Ethics Officials, Inspectors General, and Appointees from Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, Data Call for Certain Waivers and Authorizations" (PDF). United States Office of Government Ethics. US OGE. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b Lipton, Eric (May 23, 2017). "White House Moves to Block Ethics Inquiry Into Ex-Lobbyists on Payroll". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  15. ^ Overby, Peter (May 22, 2017). "Ethics Agency Rejects White House Move To Block Ethics Waiver Disclosures". National Public Radio. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  16. ^ Shaub, Walter. "Letter from Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, to Several Members of Congress (with enclosed letter to Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget)" (PDF). US Office of Government Ethics. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  17. ^ Gold, Matea (27 May 2017). "White House Relents in Fight with Ethics Office over Waiver Disclosure". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  18. ^ Gold, Matea (31 May 2017). "White House grants ethics waivers to 17 appointees, including four former lobbyists". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  19. ^ Feinstein, Dianne. "Feinstein, Peters, Grassley Call for Increased Transparency in Administration Ethics Disclosures". US Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein. US Senate. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Posting of Waivers Issued under Executive Order 13770" (PDF). US OGE. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  21. ^ "List of Ethics Waivers Issued as of October 19, 2017". Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  22. ^ "The Campaign Legal Center Team". Campaign Legal Center. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  23. ^ Lipton, Eric. "Outgoing Ethics Chief: U.S. Is 'Close to a Laughingstock'".
  24. ^ Woodruff, Judy (July 26, 2017). "'There's a cloud over all government decision-making' under Trump, says former ethics chief". PBS. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  25. ^ Trump makes US seem a 'kleptocracy', says ex-ethics chief Walter Shaub The Guardian
  26. ^ "Firing Mueller is a Red Line That Must Not be Crossed". Campaign Legal Center. 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  27. ^ Nichols, John (2017-12-15). "If Trump Fires Mueller, We Must Impeach". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2018-02-09.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Don Fox
Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics
Succeeded by
David J. Apol