WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s attorneys initially wanted him to submit an updated financial disclosure without certifying the information as true, according to correspondence with the Office of Government Ethics.
Attorney Sheri Dillon said she saw no need for Trump to sign his 2016 personal financial disclosure because he is filing voluntarily this year. But OGE director Walter Shaub said his office would only work with Dillon if she agreed to follow the typical process of having Trump make the certification.
The Associated Press obtained the letters under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Trump led his family’s private company until becoming president, and even now maintains financial ties to it. He has avoided full transparency about his finances by breaking the long tradition of major-party political candidates making their tax returns public.
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Trump has routinely pointed to his previous public financial disclosures to justify his billionaire status and to dismiss calls for him to provide more information to the public. The filings are self-reported, though, making the personal certification all the more important to show the president is attesting for their accuracy.
The documents indicate that after OGE pushed back, Trump now plans to certify the information by mid-June. But his attorney’s effort to sidestep certification of his personal financial disclosure marks another departure from the norm. Each year, the OGE processes thousands of those forms, all of which are certified.
“This is not at all typical; in fact I’ve never heard of anyone trying this,” said Marilyn Glynn, an OGE employee for 17 years before retiring in 2008. Her positions included acting director and general counsel. “It would be as unusual as not signing your taxes.”
The certification means that if a person knowingly included incorrect financial…