Senate Dems Demand Investigation Into Wilbur Ross’ Conflicts Of Interest


On Tuesday, six Senate Democrats wrote to the Inspector General at the Commerce Department to demand an investigation into Secretary Wilbur Ross’ misrepresentations of his personal wealth and potential conflicts of interest—information recently revealed in a massive document leak known as the Paradise Papers.

In the letter, the Senators cite a report by Forbes Magazine revealing that Ross significantly overrepresented his personal wealth during his confirmation and failed to disclose major offshore holding and foreign businesses ties, including investment in a gas company co-owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law.

The lawmakers also question whether Ross has truly divested from all of his assets initially flagged as presenting a conflict of interest, as he claims to have done, and whether he is honoring his promise to recuse himself from any of the Commerce Department’s work that touches on the assets he still holds.

Finally, the letter flags that Ross’ chief of staff Wendy Teramota may also still be serving on the board of an international shipping company. “These reports about a clear and compelling conflict of interest make us question whether her efforts are focused on her personal business interests or the well-being of the American people,” the senators write.

Read the full letter below:


Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.