Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee renewed their concerns Tuesday, writing in a letter to Justice officials that Whitaker’s financial disclosure forms were only recently certified as true by ethics officials (after multiple revisions), and moreover “the Department has not produced prior versions of Mr. Whitaker’s financial disclosures, any ethics agreements he entered into with the Department, or any other ethics-related counseling he has received.”
“Acting AG Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal,” Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec told CNN on November 12.
It is not uncommon for the Justice Department to decline to discuss recusal issues when doing so may confirm the existence of certain investigations that are not yet public, but its steadfast refusal to confirm whether Whitaker has even initiated an ethics review has raised eyebrows.
“The whole point of the ethics rules is to ensure that government officials are working in the public interest free from conflicts. With every passing day, DOJ’s silence undermines public confidence in the rule of law,” Austin Evers, executive director of the watchdog organization American Oversight, told CNN. “The ethics analysis for Matthew Whitaker should be straightforward and it should be done by now.”
While calls for information have been met with radio silence at the department thus far, Whitaker’s private conversations with lawmakers have confirmed he has no intention of stepping aside.
But in a few weeks, when Democrats take the reins in the House, Whitaker may face increasing pressure to answer these ethics-related questions.
Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York and Elijah Cummings of Maryland — key Democrats slated to lead the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, respectively — spoke to Whitaker by phone late last week, and while sources briefed on the call said the acting attorney general provided little information, one Democratic aide said the House Judiciary Committee expects him to answer questions fully in January.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.
more recommended stories
Gun deaths in America reach highest level in nearly 40 years, CDC data shows
Nearly 40,000 people in the United.
American student, 21, stabbed to death in Netherlands: Officials
A 21-year-old American student has been.
CNN reporter explains how law enforcement is responding
Dozens of institutions across the country.
Bomb threats demanding bitcoin funds reported across the country, authorities say
Multiple bomb threats have been reported.
Bomb threats emailed to multiple locations across the country
At this time it’s unclear if.
Some romaine lettuce is safe to eat after E. coli outbreak, but caution urged
U.S. officials said Thursday they are.
Theresa May wins confidence vote: Live updates
British Prime Minister Theresa May returns.
Manhunt continues for shooter in suspected terrorist attack in France
A major manhunt is underway in.
Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison
His sentence will be the longest.
Michael Cohen, in emotional courtroom plea for leniency, says Trump made him ‘cover up his dirty deeds’
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump‘s former.