When Josh arrived in his office Donna told him ‘Lionel Tribbey wants to see you. His exact words were ‘Tell that cretin you work for I want to see him.’ So, I think it is urgent. You have senior staff in 20 minutes, and you need to phone your mother.’ Josh put his backpack down and went to see what White House Counsel wanted. He suspected it may have something to do with the financial disclosure forms which have to be submitted next week. When he arrived at White House Counsel’s office Lionel Tribbey was swinging a cricket bat around which made Josh nervous. ‘Josh’ Lionel Tribbey said in Greeting. ‘I was looking at your financial disclosure in particular I wanted to see how much you paid for that book you gave Donna for Christmas. I know you got her a book as it was all my staff would talk about for a month. I could not find the answer. Can you explain why it was omitted?’ ‘Lionel, I did give Donna a book for Christmas last year. But technically I did not buy it so do not have to disclose it. Seeing as Donna scrutinises my financial disclosure forms, I did not want her to see how much it cost.’ ‘What do you mean you did not technically buy it?’ Tribbey was starting to think that a financial scandal was going to break. ‘The book was bought by the Trustees of the Lyman Family No1 Trust and given to me as a late birthday present. I knew that Donna was interested in skiing so gave it to her. I will have the Trustees send you all the paperwork.’ ‘But you were seen buying the book so how could the Trustees have bought it?’ The way that Tribbey swung the bat when he asked this made Josh nervous. ‘I used one of their debit cards which had been given to me for that purpose.’ ‘Make sure I get the paperwork before we have to make disclosure.’ ‘I will.’ Josh left before Tribbey mistook his head for a cricket ball.
After senior staff CJ called Josh over to where she was sitting with the President and Leo. ‘Josh what did Tribbey want. I know he was looking for you as I could hear him from the car park.’ ‘He had a query over my financial disclosure forms, I had not included the book I gave to Donna on it he wanted an explanation.’ On hearing this Leo said. ‘Now I am worried the fact that you gave Donna a book is one of the worse kept secrets in the White House so why is it not on your form?’ ‘My family trust fund bought it for me as a gift and I gave it to Donna.’ The President, Leo and CJ looked at him as if to say, ‘yes alright we believe you.’
In the bullpen the Senior Assistants were doing a final check of the financial disclosure forms when Carol said. ‘Donna why is the book that Josh gave you not on his form? We were going to use it as a benchmark for an appropriate measure for how much our bosses should spend on us.’ Donna responded. ‘I suspect that is what Lionel Tribbey wanted to talk to him about before senior staff.’ Donna also wanted to know how much the book cost so was annoyed not to see it on the form.
The following Tuesday CJ was in the press room to go through the financial disclosure forms. It was the turn to go through Josh’s forms. ‘Danny you have a question?’ ‘CJ everyone knows that last Christmas Josh gave Donna a book as a present. I have gone through his form carefully twice and can see no reference to it. Can you explain.’ ‘White House Counsel did pick up on that and enquiries have been made and for reasons far too complicated for me to understand it has been agreed that there was no breach of the rules in the omission of that item from the form. Steve’ ‘CJ on Danny’s point everyone knows how Josh feels about Donna, so we need a better explanation than that. If you cannot give it to us can we have a note from Counsel’s office to explain it.’ ‘I will ask Counsel’s office to provide a note.
Two hours later a note was provided. Unfortunately for the members of the White House Press Corps after being drafted in the finest diplomatic language it was then refined into legalese so that the position was as clear as mud. Although some would argue that mud was in fact clearer