'Trump-Proofing the Presidency': New Report Details How to Stymie the Next Deeply Unethical Person Elected to the White House

“The election of Donald Trump as president exposed numerous shortcomings and outright chasms in the ethics laws that govern the executive branch of the U.S. government,” declares a new report from a pair of watchdog groups that argue much can be done to close loopholes the president has exploited since taking office.

“If Congress does not address these problems and fix this inherently broken system, then Trump won’t be the exception—he’ll likely be the start of a new trend.”
—Noah Bookbinder, CREW

The good news, as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) executive director Noah Bookbinder put it, is that “this administration’s catastrophic ethical failings have provided a clear road map of the gaps in our system of presidential ethics which must be filled.”

Published Tuesday by CREW and Public Citizen, Trump-Proofing the Presidency (pdf) calls for a “deep scrub” of existing executive branch ethics policies to fix “both longstanding, nettlesome problems” and “flaws that Trump has revealed.”

Both groups have chronicled and challenged Trump’s conflicts and violations throughout his presidency. Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen, noted that “no president has pushed the ethical boundaries like Trump.”

“Many of the unprecedented ethical problems we see with this administration,” Bookbinder explained, “stem from President Trump’s failure to divest from his businesses.”

The report’s forward-looking proposals, which largely rely on congressional action, have four overarching goals:

  • Preventing conflicts of interest;
  • Improving financial disclosure of candidates and office holders;
  • Enhancing rules on gifts to candidates and public officials; and
  • Strengthening the integrity of government.