White house staffer and ethics lawyer James Schultz officially announced his resignation last week. The announcement spurred on rumors that Schultz was leaving due to serious ethical issues within the current Trump administration, but this is a claim he vehemently denies. Instead, the experienced lawyer plans to return to private practice in his native city of Philadelphia, where he feels he is most useful and able to utilize his skillset.
- Despite the rumors, Schultz claims his plan to leave was set in stone before he ever took the position. “That was something Don [McGahn, the White House counsel] and I discussed very early on. …These are typically year-to-about-18-months-type positions.”
- In an interview with Politico, Schultz did admit that he will likely get involved with ongoing debate about Trump’s presidency. However, he stops short of activism. “I will be out, but I don’t plan to make a career out of being a pundit on TV. … I’m planning to have a robust law practice.”
- When queried about his professional opinion on ethical issues surrounding the Trump administration, Schultz minced no words. “Some in the news media unfairly criticize this administration and take every opportunity to take shots, even when they’re not justified.” The attorney also pointed out that some are using the opportunity to gain attention and fame by conflating the facts, urging caution and a critical eye.
- Schultz uses Walter Shaub as an example of the previous claim. “Nobody knew who was before Donald Trump became president. It was more about him than about ethics.” This comes just after Shaub maligned Schultz subtly in an interview on Sunday, saying “I wish Jim well. I hope he’s better at his next job, or at least lasts a full year in it.”
- Even if Schultz wanted to become an activist, Trump administration laws would effectively prevent him from doing so. In order to hold his previous position, the lawyer had to agree to a five-year ban preventing him from becoming a registered lobbyist. The same agreement also prevents him from becoming a foreign lobbyist for life.
A lot of people have left the service of the White House this year. Does that concern you or bring you relief?