A key Democratic senator is seeking more information about the status of a required ethics review for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary.
The Office of Government Ethics, which is responsible for examining nominees’ financial disclosures and resolving potential conflicts of interest, on Saturday sounded an alarm about the fact that Senate Republicans were planning confirmation hearings this week for Trump nominees whose ethics reviews remained unfinished.
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the ranking Democrat of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has said that DeVos’s confirmation hearing — currently scheduled for Wednesday — should be postponed until the Office of Government Ethics has a chance to complete its vetting.
In a letter Friday to the head of the ethics office, Walter M. Shaub Jr., Murray asked for details about whether DeVos — a Michigan billionaire with significant financial holdings and a long record of contributions to political candidates and conservative causes — has submitted required information and where her review stands.
“Given Ms. DeVos’ very significant financial resources and the high position of public trust to which she will be nominated, it is essential that our Committee fully understand in advance of the hearing what are the potential conflicts of interest and the steps she will take in order to comply with federal ethics laws and regulations,” Murray wrote.
Here are the six questions Murray asked Shaub to answer:
1. Have OGE and the Department of Education received all the necessary information from Ms. DeVos?
2. Has the report been filed with OGE?
3. Has an ethics agreement been completed?
4. Has OGE reviewed and certified both Ms. DeVos’ financial disclosure form (OGE-278) and ethics agreement?
5. Are there outstanding ethics issues that still need to be resolved?
6. Can you provide an estimate of how long it will take to reach and certify an agreement?
Shaub has not yet replied to the request for information, according to an aide to Murray.
An aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the HELP Committee, said Saturday that Republicans have no plans to delay DeVos’s hearing in light of concerns about the unfinished ethics review.
Read Murray’s letter: