ethics

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, already battling roughly a dozen ethics investigations, allegedly asked a top aide to obtain a used mattress from President Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel.

Millan Hupp, Pruitt's director of scheduling and advance, told House investigators last month that she couldn't track down the mattress, and didn't know if Pruitt ultimately got one.

A spokeswoman for the Trump International Hotel had no comment on any aspect of the story.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

A federal ethics agency has ruled that one of President Trump's closest White House aides twice broke the law separating government from politics.

Kellyanne Conway, who was Trump's campaign manager in 2016, advocated for Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's recent Senate election during live television interviews broadcast from the White House lawn.

The Office of Special Counsel found Conway violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from using their office for partisan politics.

As President Trump marks the first anniversary of his inauguration, his lawyers are preparing for next week's preliminary arguments in a suit that alleges he is violating the Constitution's anti-corruption provisions, known as the foreign and domestic Emoluments Clauses.

President Trump marks his first year in the White House on Jan. 20. Since he took the oath, he's been dogged by questions about his hundreds of businesses and the conflicts of interest they pose.

In attempts to confront Trump and force him to address these conflicts, congressional Democrats, state attorneys general and watchdog groups have sued the president. So far, their cases have not advanced very far in court. A federal judge has dismissed one suit.

From the moment Donald Trump was elected president, questions started arising about his ability to separate his private business deals from his official duties. Critics became especially alarmed about his overseas holdings, fearing they could influence his foreign policy decisions.

In the year since taking office, has he found ways to address the ethical questions that could taint his foreign policy credibility?

When President Trump commented last week on the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., a reporter asked him if he planned to visit the city.

Trump's reply veered far off the volatile topic of race relations: "I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that's been very badly hurt over the last couple of days." There was crosstalk as Trump continued: "I own, I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States. It's in Charlottesville."

More than 190 Democrats in Congress joined together to sue President Trump on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

They say Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution by profiting from business deals involving foreign governments — and doing so without congressional consent. And they want the court to make it stop.

Trump has "repeatedly and flagrantly violated" the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters on a conference call.

The Trump administration agreed late Friday to disclose records regarding former lobbyists it has hired, and the ethics rules it has waived for them. The move defuses a brewing conflict between the White House and one of Washington's smallest agencies, the tiny, 71-worker Office of Government Ethics.

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of failing to answer his questions about President Trump's business ties to people who might be violating money laundering and other U.S. laws.

Mnuchin responded by suggesting Brown "just send me a note on what you are looking for."

Brown pointed out that he had already sent a two-page letter.

Shortly after the November election, President Trump's initial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski launched a new career — co-founding a lobbying firm called Avenue Strategies.

But he did not register as a lobbyist.

That caused critics to demand investigations into his lack of registration, and now, Lewandowski is quitting.

On Inauguration Day, Donald Trump placed his hand on a Bible and promised to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. At the time, many ethics experts waited to see if Trump would divest himself of his multi-billion dollar business interests.

"And he didn't do it," says Zephyr Teachout, an associate law professor at Fordham University. "So immediately upon becoming president we filed a lawsuit to get him to stop violating the Constitution."

A liberal watchdog group says Jared Kushner, who is both President Trump's son-in-law and an adviser with far-reaching duties, should recuse himself from working on a sweeping array of tax, financial and foreign policy issues.

Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr. is calling on the chairman of House Oversight Committee to become more engaged in overseeing ethics questions in the Trump administration.

In an interview with NPR on Monday, Shaub said public inquiries and complaints involving Trump administration conflicts of interest and ethics have been inundating his tiny agency, which has only advisory power.

A former Wells Fargo manager who was fired after reporting suspicions of fraudulent behavior must be paid some $5.4 million and rehired into a similar position, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says, announcing its largest-ever individual whistleblower award.

Wells Fargo says it will appeal the OSHA order.

The White House says President Trump has a new special assistant on his staff — his daughter Ivanka. The announcement comes a week after the president's oldest daughter moved into her own office in the West Wing to work on women's issues.

Her shift from an informal adviser at the White House to an unpaid government employee is small but important. She was already applying for security clearance, had access to classified information and was meeting with world leaders.

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