U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision of making Carl Icahn a special adviser to his administration has now begun to be questioned. It is alleged that the investor has been using his political position for personal gains, thereby leading to conflicts of interest.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, along with several other senators, drafted a letter questioning the role of Carl Icahn as an advisor to the Trump administration. The letter was sent to the CVR Energy stakeholder on Monday along with an extra copy to the Office of Government Ethics as well as the Department of Justice. The letter alleged Icahn of violating “federal conflict of interests.”
In the letter, the Democratic senators noted that whatever policies Carl Icahn has proposed are for the benefit of his own investments. This included his stakes starting from biofuel and pharmaceutical companies to nutritional supplement producers.
“We write because we are increasingly concerned about the role you are playing in the Trump Administration and the possibility that you are breaking federal conflict of interest laws,” the senators wrote.
While so many doubts and questions are being raised against Carl Icahn, the billionaire seems not to care much about the claims. In the series of interviews conducted last week, Icahn expressed his normal take on the critical views. He said that he was a special adviser to the U.S. federal administration. He specified that he was an informal and unpaid political adviser. Hence, he was not required to follow any conflict of interest rule.
“I’m not making any policy,” Carl Icahn told the New York Times. “I am only giving my opinion.”
It was in December 2016 when Donald Trump announced Carl Icahn would be the special adviser to his administration. By this, the president meant that the investor would not be subject to any specific duty, and he will not be a “federal employee or a Special Government Employee.”
The 81-year-old billionaire has been in the news for a few weeks now since his bid to change an ethanol rule. He has proposed the removal of a federal requirement that held refiners responsible for mixing ethanol with gasoline. Instead, Carl Icahn has bid to make gas station owners responsible for the incorrect mixing.
According to the reports, the change in the rule will ensure one of his affiliated businesses generates $200 million revenue annually. This is what made critics question the proficiency of Carl Icahn. The doubts put pressure on Congress on March 8, thereby asking it to undertake an investigation to find if the billionaire has been involved in any kind of illegal conduct.
“Reports suggest you are unfairly using your position in the White House and your access to President Trump to influence that nation’s regulatory policies in order to serve your own interests and not those of the American people,” the letter read.
Apart from the doubts over ethanol rule amendment issue, the senators’ letter also contained other questions, including his disassociation from some of his financial holdings. The letter drafters have also urged authorities to reclassify the position of Carl Icahn in the Trump administration, and thereby make him aware of the ethics requirements, Fortune mentioned.
Donald Trump named Jared Kushner as the head of the new White House Office of American Innovation on Monday. This is yet another issue that is likely to drive critical comments after Carl Icahn involvements. Kushner has no prominent qualification. He is only known as a man married to his boss’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. He is a senior adviser to the U.S. president. With the new role, Kushner will get the right to “overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises.”
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