Updated on January 11 at 5:56 p.m. ET
President-elect Donald Trump announced at a press conference Wednesday that he is transferring control of his company to his sons, a plan that falls far short of what ethics experts have advised for the president-elect to prevent conflicts of interest as a result of his business entanglements.
The steps announced Wednesday won’t resolve Trump’s potential conflicts of interest, according to Norman Eisen, the former White House ethics czar under President Obama. “Mr. Trump’s ill-advised course will precipitate scandal and corruption,” Eisen said in an e-mail, arguing that when he assumes the presidency, Trump will be poised to violate a provision of the Constitution intended to prevent foreign governments from buying influence in the U.S. government.
Later on Wednesday, U.S. Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub denounced Trump’s plans in no uncertain terms. “This isn’t the way the presidency has worked since Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act in 1978 in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate scandal,” he said at a forum convened by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
The criticism Trump faces from ethics experts is bipartisan: Richard Painter, the former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, also criticized Trump’s stated plans during the forum. “The plan we heard today is not compliant with the law,” Painter warned. “The president-elect has nine days to fix this problem.”