- Richard Painter: Trump must address conflicts of interest that are already apparent
- Most of potential conflicts stem from Trump's multibillion-dollar real estate empire, he says
Richard W. Painter is the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota. He was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from February 2005 to July 2007. Painter is the author of several books on government ethics as well as the ethics of bankers and lawyers. The views expressed are his own.
(CNN)President-elect Donald Trump promised during his campaign to "drain the swamp" of Washington. And he is right that many Americans believe their capital to be inundated with lobbyists, campaign contributors and influence peddlers. But to reform Washington, Trump will have to address conflicts of interest that are already apparent in his transition team. Unless these problems are fixed, his administration will have little credibility in ethics by the time he reaches the White House -- and that will mean reform of the rest of Washington will be very difficult.