Meet the Atlanta attorney who will head Donald Trump’s ethics office


For years, Stefan Passantino has been the Atlanta attorney who has kept Republican politicians — both state and federal — on the right side of ethics laws. Now he’s set to be in charge of President Donald Trump’s team of ethics lawyers.

As head of the White House Counsel’s ethics office, Passantino will be charged with trying to smooth over Trump’s conflicts of interests. He’ll lead three other attorneys who will serve on the “compliance” team.

It’s no easy task, as the president enters office with business ties across the nation and around the world through the Trump Organization. And he’s so far refused to divest himself of his business empire, instead putting his two eldest sons in charge of the business.

Passantino is a well-known ethics expert who heads the political law division for the mega-firm Dentons. He’s run countless seminars explaining campaign contribution rules and disclosure guidelines. And he was counsel to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during his 2012 presidential run, as well as the chief lawyer for U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Roy Blunt of Missouri.

His team will include Uttam Dhillon, an attorney for the U.S. House’s Financial Services Committee; Scott Gast, the investigative counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics; and James Schultz, an attorney for the Cozen O’Connor law firm.

In a statement, Gingrich said Passantino will “stand firm for an administration that is above reproach.” And Howard Dean, the former Democratic presidential candidate who also worked at Dentons with Passantino, praised the decision.

“I have a lot of confidence that he will be clear about what the ethical and legal boundaries are in his advice to the White House,” said Dean, a former Vermont governor, “and I appreciate his willingness to serve the country.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Politics

Georgia GOP senators walk a tightrope with ‘Skinny Repeal’
Georgia GOP senators walk a tightrope with ‘Skinny Repeal’

A new phrase gripped Georgia advocates for and against Obamacare repeal Thursday — “Skinny Repeal”. After two Senate votes on previous proposals to scale back the 2010 health care law failed solidly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was said to be heading toward this stripped-down incarnation of a bill to roll back portions...
Your Thursday political briefing: Vote-a-rama today; Blue Cross Blue Shield warning; Spicer on ‘DWTS’
Your Thursday political briefing: Vote-a-rama today; Blue Cross Blue Shield warning; Spicer on ‘DWTS’

Here is what is trending in politics around Georgia and across the nation on Thursday. 1. For health care bill, it’s ‘vote-a-rama’ dayLook for a flurry of activity Thursday on health care legislation. The Senate will begin a “vote-a-rama” as the 20 hours of debate on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care...
Long a bastion of transparency, Ga. courts act to dim the lights
Long a bastion of transparency, Ga. courts act to dim the lights

No one is going to accuse judges of enthusiastically embracing modern society. They speak in Latin phrases and trace much of their behavior from the bench back centuries to English common law. Plus, who else wears robes to work? Yet daily they are forced to deal with Twitter. And Facebook. And Periscope. And a tide of technology — from laptops...
What the heck is a vote-a-rama?
What the heck is a vote-a-rama?

Sleep well, wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of snacks. That’s the advice floating around the north end of the U.S. Capitol as the Senate prepares to embark on one of its most unique, byzantine — and useless, depending on whom you ask — traditions. The ritual of “vote-a-rama” (yes, that’s an official term) is...
Georgia might ditch license plate tags; state studies idea
Georgia might ditch license plate tags; state studies idea

It is one of the most common experiences among car owners across the nation: Once a year, for a required fee, receive a decal to stick on your license plate or window showing your vehicle registration is up-to-date. But now Georgia is flirting with the idea of eliminating the stickers altogether, a potential massive decision given that the decals got...
More Stories