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US Ethics Office wants you to know public comments have skyrocketed to more than 39,000 from 164

  • The Office of Government Ethics said the number of public comments has skyrocketed.
  • More than 39,000 comments were made in the first two quarters of fiscal 2017.
  • The number dwarfs the 164 comments in the same period in fiscal 2016 and 733 in 2009.

Sometimes a picture is worth 39,000 words.

That's the message that the U.S. Office of Government Ethics sent on Twitter, pointing out that the number of public comments it has received has skyrocketed to more than 39,000 for the first two quarters of fiscal 2017.

This period runs from Oct. 1 to March 31, and it is unclear what portion of these contacts occurred during President Barack Obama's presidency and President Donald Trump's presidency, which began Jan. 20.

The number dwarfs the 164 comments during the same period in fiscal 2016 and 733 in the period in 2009, another time frame that spanned two presidencies — that of Obama and President George W. Bush.

The Ethics Office has occasionally lifted the veil on its traffic when it receives an unusual number of comments.

When its website went down on Feb. 9, it tweeted that it received "an extraordinary volume of contacts from citizens about recent events."

While the office did not go into detail, the jump came amid a backlash against Trump's top adviser Kellyanne Conway after she plugged first daughter Ivanka Trump's fashion company in an interview. Afterward, the Ethics Office urged the White House to investigate Conway's comments and potentially discipline her.

In a post on March 9, it said it had received many calls, adding news that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had rescued himself from issues related to TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline application.

The Ethics Office and the White House were not immediately available for comment.