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Part Of Trump's Ethics Order Might Look Familiar

Donald Trump's executive order on ethics looks a lot like Obama's, which looks like Clinton's.
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Part Of Trump's Ethics Order Might Look Familiar

President Donald Trump's executive order on ethics takes a page from two previous Democratic presidents — sometimes literally.

Trump signed the executive order — which included a five-year lobbying ban — Saturday. The language in the order looks strikingly similar to ethics orders issued by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Here's the first section from each president. Trump's begins: "Section 1. Ethics Pledge. Every appointee in every executive agency appointed on or after January 20, 2017, shall sign, and upon signing shall be contractually committed to, the following pledge upon becoming an appointee:"

Compare that to Obama's: "Section 1. Ethics Pledge. Every appointee in every executive agency appointed on or after January 20, 2009, shall sign, and upon signing shall be contractually committed to, the following pledge upon becoming an appointee:"

And here's Clinton's: "Section 1. Ethics Pledges. (a) Every senior appointee in every executive agency appointed on or after January 20, 1993, shall sign, and upon signing shall be contractually committed to, the following pledge ("senior appointee pledge") upon becoming a senior appointee:"

The similarities continue on down the document on everything from not accepting lobbying gifts to promises that employment would be based on a candidate's qualifications.

Trump's order does go a step further than both Obama's and Clinton's — it imposes a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government. 

An Ohio State University law professor told NPR that for a Republican president, using language from past Democratic executive orders is beneficial since it was "vetted by other lawyers and apparently deemed acceptable to the political opposition."