Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Atlanta attorney put in charge of President Trump's ethics

For years, Stefan Passantino has been the Atlanta attorney who has kept Republican politicians on the right side of the law, both state and federal.

In 2012, he was counsel to former House speaker Newt Gingrich during his presidential run. Which did not work out.

But on Wednesday, Passantino made it to The Show. He will be in charge of keeping a sitting U.S. president on the right side of the Constitution’s emolument clause. A president who has refused to divest himself of several hundred corporations, foreign and domestic, in which he has an interest. From the Washington Post:

President Trump announced the addition of a team of ethics lawyers to the White House Counsel’s Office Wednesday, hours after his family business announced that it was hiring a longtime Republican lawyer to ensure the Trump Organization minimizes conflicts of interest.


The double-barreled announcements drew some criticism for a president who enters office with more potential conflicts of interest than any previous chief executive, but also praise for the new compliance staff. At the White House, the team will be led by Stefan C. Passantino, an election-law expert in private practice who will have the title of deputy assistant to the president for compliance and ethics matters.

"Stefan is a superb lawyer and a long-time member of our Political Law team," said Mike McNamara, CEO of Dentons US. "This is a remarkable honor and we applaud his decision to join the public sector and serve our country at this important time."


It's true: When former President Jimmy Carter was elected, he put his peanut farm and warehouse into a trust governed by an outside trustee who could rent or sell the properties without Carter's approval.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was at the Georgia Dome on Sunday to watch his Packers collapse in the NFC title game. But at least Wisconsin taxpayers didn't pick up his tab.

The Sheboygan Press reports that the Republican Governors Association paid for Walker's visit to our soon-to-be-destroyed stadium. A Walker spokesman told the newspaper that he and his wife were meeting with GOP donors at the Dome and that it was "paid for by the organization."


State Rep. Scott Holcomb filed an open records request with Secretary of State Brian Kemp's office in search of any evidence of voter fraud in Georgia after Donald Trump - again - falsely claimed there were millions of fraudulent voters.

He's not likely to report any. His aides said at a hearing this week there were no "illegal votes" in Georgia.



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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.