Some White House staffers could face $200 fines for failing to turn in their required personal financial disclosure statements on time.
The White House released financial disclosure forms late last month for 92 of the roughly 180 employees required to file them, offering details for the first time on many of the staffers’ enormous wealth.
Federal law mandates that those who are required to file a report have to pay a late-filing fee of $200 to the appropriate agency, payable to the U.S. Treasury, if it’s more than 30 days after its initial due date or a filing extension.
The late fee can be waived if the White House’s ethics officer determines that the tardy filing was due to “extraordinary circumstances . . . which made the delay reasonably necessary,” including the agency’s failure to notify a job holder of the need to file the disclosure report.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said everyone required to file had done so or been granted an extension as permitted by law. She said the White House would release the unreleased records 30 days after they were filed. But records released by the White House show that several staffers who filed late didn’t receive extensions or filed documents after the extensions had expired.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, did not receive an extension and filed 22 days late, according to the documents. Omarosa Manigault, director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, received a 32-day extension but still missed her deadline by eight days. George Gigicos, who’s in charge of making preparations for President Donald Trump’s visits across the country, received a 13-day extension but filed four days after the new deadline.
Staffers who are either commissioned officers or are paid more than $161,755 annually are required to file the disclosures, a senior administration official with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told reporters.
Many news organizations reported receiving 80 or 90 of the forms. The Center for Public Integrity made them searchable. It’s unclear how many aides face a fine or were granted a reprieve.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the Trump administration was being more transparent than previous administrations by making the forms “more accessible and more available than previously.”
But the White House did not post the disclosures online. Members of the public were required to request each one separately by name before the document was emailed to them. It refused to released a list of eligible staffers.
Trump campaigned on “draining the swamp,” or ridding the White House of wealthy Washington insiders, though many of the financial disclosures show those are exactly the people he hired.
Prior to the release, reporters were shown a document with two pie charts comparing the complexity of the reports filed by the Obama and Trump aides. Though no details were provided, the charts show the Trump aides had more “complex” disclosures.
The senior administration official bragged that the Trump administration had released the disclosures three days earlier than the Obama administration.