15977282_10155104671320649_344545953734525921_n Ha ha, fooled you. That’s the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics talking about Rex Tillerson. In more detail:

I’m especially proud of the ethics agreement we developed for the intended nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Mr. Tillerson is making a clean break from Exxon. He’s also forfeiting bonus payments worth millions. As a result of OGE’s work, he’s now free of financial conflicts of interest. His ethics agreement serves as a sterling model for what we’d like to see with other nominees. He clearly recognizes that public service sometimes comes at a cost. The greater the authority entrusted in a government official, the greater the potential for conflicts of interest. That’s why the cost is often greater the higher up you go.

Note, FWIW, that WS is an Obama appointee. OTOH, you won’t be too surprised to learn that not all is roses on the ethics front. Indeed, he begins

I wish circumstances were different and I didn’t feel the need to make public remarks today. You don’t hear about ethics when things are going well. You’ve been hearing a lot about ethics lately.

(my bold). He continues

We can’t risk creating the perception that government leaders would use their official positions for
profit. That’s why I was glad in November when the President-elect tweeted that he wanted to, as he put it, “in no way have a conflict of interest” with his businesses. Unfortunately, his current plan 16299035_1404467419646308_1072039021676173513_n cannot achieve that goal. It’s easy to see that the current plan does not achieve anything like the clean break Rex Tillerson is making from Exxon. Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective. The Presidency is a full-time job and he would’ve had to step back anyway. The idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating businesses adds nothing to the equation. This is not a blind trust—it’s not even close… The only thing this has in common with a blind trust is the label, “trust.”… The idea of limiting direct communication about the business is wholly inadequate… <lots more critical stuff> Now, before anyone is too critical of the plan the President-elect announced, let’s all remember there’s still time to build on that plan and come up with something that will resolve his conflicts of interest. In developing the current plan, the President-elect did not have the benefit of OGE’s guidance. So, to be clear, OGE’s primary recommendation is that he divest his conflicting financial interests. Nothing short of divestiture will resolve these conflicts… I’ve been pursuing this issue because the ethics program starts at the top. The signals a President sends set the tone for ethics across the executive branch. Tone from the top matters… I’ve had to ask nominees and appointees to take painful steps to avoid conflicts of interest… Their basic patriotism usually prevails, as they agree to set aside their personal
interests to serve their country’s interests… buoyed by the unwavering example of Presidents who resolved their own conflicts of interest.

This is old news. I’m disappointed by Slate’s failure to cover the Tillerson angle; but CNN does better.


The poem for this post is no time ago by e e cummings.


* Memo To Trump – 20% Mexican Import Tariff Means Americans Pay For The Wall by Timmy. What is funny is how many of my left wing fb friends, who are ordinarily silent on tariffs, have suddenly realised that they’re paid by ordinary consumers.
* India’s Mistaken Policy Of The Day – Rs 1,000 Subsidy For Smartphones -Timmy again; also tariff related.
* China’s Ballpoint Pen Victory – Or Why American Wages Are Higher Than Chinese – guess who.
* Rex Tillerson, Exxon, And When An Oil Subsidy Isn’t Really An Oil Subsidy – bored yet?
* Bank Of England’s Mark Carney – Hard Brexit’s A Problem For The EU, Not Britain – last one.
* Outrage dilution by Scott Adams.