Felix Ehrat, the top lawyer at Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, has chose to step down from his role over the drugmaker's $1.2 million payment to President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen for healthcare policy lobbying services. A year ago it took the agency about two days to make Trump's disclosure form public after it was submitted.
The disclosure was not included in Trump's 2017 filing.
The acting director of OGE, David J. Apol, concluded that Trump's report "meets the disclosure requirements" - the outside group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had filed a complaint that Trump's 2017 form had improperly omitted a "loan" from Cohen - but noted that making that debt public "is required".
It will also be scrutinized for any sign of the hush money payment made to Daniels.
While not stating explicitly what the payments were for, Trump's lawyers have previously said that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 hush money payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels.
"In 2016, expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen", read a footnote on the form, which was released by the Office of Government Ethics. When news of the $130,000 payment first broke, Michael D. Cohen did not deny it but said that he had not been reimbursed by either the president's company or campaign. Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani has characterized the repayment as taken from funds paid as a retainer for Cohen's legal services that didn't have to be listed as a debt, according to the BuzzFeed story.
Trump has been secretive about his personal finances. "The forms will be available through the Office of Government Ethics".
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has contended that Trump should have reported the reimbursement a year ago.