Who in the federal government should be covered by ethics rules/laws? Or “restricted”, depending on how you view them.
People to consider might include, but are not necessarily limited to: President, Vice-President, Congresspeople, staff of any of the aforementioned elected people, appointed/confirmed posts, committee members, any and all employees from agency head down to the person who answers the phone, volunteers, and so on.
If there are any exceptions, should they be codified and/or clearly spelled-out? You bet. As ethics seems to have degenerated into a vague partisan “hammer” to be used only when politically expedient, you bet.
In my opinion, every single person employed and/or elected and/or serving in any capacity in government needs to be covered by ethics rules/laws. The level of coverage may vary depending on the level of position, but everyone should be held to open and published standards of some sort. This includes the President. Especially the President. A President, above all else, needs to be above reproach and beyond question as to their motives.
Some people in high position choose to sell off their business interests entirely, and that certainly is one legitimate option. It is a clean severance that cannot be disputed. I do not believe that is necessary, however. I do not expect a President to essentially give up their rights of citizenship in order to serve. A true blind trust where the President as absolutely no control or influence or contact, doesn’t even know what is going on, is sufficient.
Take President Trump and his business interests, for example. Unfortunately, President Trump has refused to do that. President Trump has chosen to put his sons in charge and claim a wall where there is none. Seriously? Are we honestly expected to believe that they never ever talk business when together? Please, don’t insult me.