The U.S. Office of Government Ethics reversed an internal policy which prohibits anonymous donations from lobbyists to White House staffers with legal defense funds, according to a report Wednesday.
The move could help President Trump's team raise money to pay for attorneys defending them in the Trump-Russia investigation, Politico reported.
Vice President Mike Pence as well as numerous aides, such as senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and new communications director Hope Hicks, have sought legal council as special counsel and congressional investigations continue.
A 1993 memo from OGE said donations could legally be made to defense funds if made anonymously. Though it was never officially changed, former OGE officials said the guidance posed problems and it was advised that attorneys avoid lobbyist donations, according to the report.
Just before the 2016 election, Walter Shaub, who was then director of the office, sought to review the policy.
Now, since the rule was never officially changed, and as administration officials face increased scrutiny, there is potential for lobbyists to contribute to legal defense funds.
"It's very depressing," Shaub told Politico. "It's unseemly for the ethics office to be doing something sneaky like that."