In the interest of transparency, we are posting a limited waiver of the Ethics Pledge that was granted today to Robert Bauer, Counsel to the President. Counsels to the President of the United States ordinarily are in contact with the personal lawyers to the President on a range of matters, including, for example, preparation of the President’s financial disclosure forms. Counsels to the President also ordinarily work on issues, such as evaluating campaign finance litigation, that are also of interest to the national committee of their political party, and have to work on issues that require contact with the national party or its lawyers. Mr. Bauer, the Counsel to President Obama, is in the unusual situation of having been, before he joined the Administration, both the personal lawyer to the President and counsel to the Democratic National Committee, and his former firm continues in those roles. Literal application of Paragraph 2 of the Ethics Pledge would prevent Mr. Bauer from performing roles that someone in the Counsel’s position ordinarily performs. The Executive Order allows for a waiver when the literal application of the Pledge does not make sense or is not in the public interest, and so we are granting the waiver on that basis. As always, we are posting the waiver.
Norm Eisen is Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform