John Podesta seems to be working overtime in helping Politico kick out nothingburger stories. This one takes the cake so far.
I know I was stunned. A political campaign violated its self imposed rules on hiring lobbyists? This must be the End Times. I was also stunned when I read Wikileaks emails where Hillary Clinton’s campaign did the same thing.
What do we have here?
Donald Trump’s transition team appears to have deviated from its own ethics rule barring lobbyists whose work for Trump would overlap with any matters on which they lobbied in the previous year.
According to a copy of Trump for America Inc.’s Code of Ethical Conduct obtained by POLITICO, a member of the transition team must pledge to “disqualify myself from involvement in any particular transition matter if I have engaged in regulated lobbying activities with respect to such matter, as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, within the previous 12 months.”
And they go on to name people on the transition team who seem to be in violation of this rule. Except, not so much:
The code of ethics was likely put in place under the leadership of Chris Christie, who was pushed aside last week and replaced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is now leading the transition effort. One source inside the transition team estimates that about 150 team members stood in line and signed this particular version of the code of ethics, as well as a nondisclosure form at a team meeting on Nov. 11, just hours before Trump shook up the team’s leadership and put Pence in charge.
The document says it was last updated Nov. 10, and it’s not clear whether it’s been updated since then. Some of the aides may have joined the transition before this policy was in effect.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but these two paragraphs turn the entire story in nothing. A. We don’t know if the people in question signed this ethics form and that certainly isn’t documented in the story. B. We don’t know if this ethics code is still in force. C. Waiving internal rules is not unusual or even remarkable.
This is insane. I never imagined I’d ever be put in the position of defending Donald Trump. But this crap is ridiculous and is shows just now nakedly and shamelessly partisan Politico is.