Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has been ordered to pay more than $61,000 after a federal judge said Tuesday that she “willfully” refused to file financial disclosure documents after being fired from the Trump administration in 2017.
The 1978 Ethics in Government Act required Manigault Newman, who served as communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison, to file a public financial disclosure report within 30 days of her termination on Dec. 12, 2017. Her report wasn’t received until September 2019, three months after a federal lawsuit was filed against her over her failure to comply, the federal government said.
“Manigault Newman’s years-long failure to comply with the EIGA after ‘many written and verbal reminders’ is a ‘flagrant’ violation warranting imposition of ‘the full penalty,’” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon concluded, while ordering her to pay the maximum $50,000 penalty, plus an additional $11,585 for inflation.
Manigault Newman, who claims the litigation is retaliation because she has been critical of former President Donald Trump and the Trump administration since her termination, suggested on Twitter Tuesday that she was being unfairly punished by the judge for what she called an “alleged unintentional failing to file a form.”
After her termination, the onetime “Apprentice” star had been sent more than 100 notifications, including weekly automated emails, about the 30-day filing deadline through an online government platform where the report could be submitted. White House staff also emailed her multiple times to offer assistance, including an option to extend the deadline, the government said.
It wasn’t until March 2018, during a phone call with a White House staffer, that Manigault Newman acknowledged her failure to comply with the record request and that she had received the multiple electronic notifications. However, she still refused to comply because, in her opinion, her termination date was wrong. She said her last day in office was Jan. 20, 2018.
A White House ethics attorney, who had been contacting her about the missed deadline, provided Manigault Newman with White House records that confirmed her December termination.
“Her continued dissatisfaction with that date was not a basis for withholding the Termination Report,” Leon said in his judgement.
“There is also no question that Manigault Newman knowingly failed to report,” he added. “As explained above, the Government provided Manigault Newman with notice of her EIGA obligations repeatedly by email, phone and automated notifications from integrity.gov.”