Correspondence shows attorney preferred that Trump not certify financial disclosure as true

Legal Ethics



A lawyer representing President Donald Trump initially resisted having him certify his 2016 personal financial disclosure as true, The Associated Press reported Friday.

The AP reported on correspondence between the Office of Government Ethics and Attorney Sheri Dillon of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The correspondence shows Dillon initially asked the OGE not to require Trump to certify the disclosure as he did so voluntarily.

But Walter Shaub, director of the OGE, told her the office wouldn’t work with her unless “she agreed to follow the typical process of having Trump make the certification,” the AP reports. The president plans to file the disclosure by mid-June.

“This is not at all typical; in fact I’ve never heard of anyone trying this,” Marilyn Glynn, a former acting director of OGE, told the AP.

A personal financial disclosure includes information about an individual’s income, liabilities and assets. Signing certifies that the information is true to the best of the signer’s knowledge. If a signer knowingly included something incorrect, the AP says, the OGE can fine that person or refer the case to the Department of Justice.

The correspondence shows Shaub and Dillon discussed the importance of Trump providing accurate information and certifying it as such.

The OGE writes guidance on ethics rules for the executive branch and financial disclosure forms from senior officials, The Hill says. There are thousands of such forms each year, according to the AP. Presidents are not required to provide yearly financial disclosures, although past officeholders have filed them.

Earlier this week, the White House confirmed to the AP that it would file a disclosure “in due time,” according to The Hill.

Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax returns—a tradition, but not a legal requirement for presidential candidates—and refusal to set up a blind trust for his assets has attracted interest to his finances.

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