Dem Sen. Asks FBI To Probe Whether Ex-Trump Adviser Broke Anti-Corruption Law

Bill Clark/CQPHO

In the wake of a report on the potential conflicts of interest investor Carl Icahn had while serving as an informal adviser to President Donald Trump, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) on Wednesday asked the FBI to investigate whether Icahn violated anti-corruption laws.

“Mr. Icahn appears to have abused his role as a special advisor to the President of the United States on issues relating to regulatory reform by participating personally and substantially, through recommendation and the rendering of advice, on a government matter that directly affects his own financial interests,” Duckworth wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Icahn resigned as a special adviser to Trump in late August, saying that he did so to prevent “partisan bickering” about his position advising the President. At the time, he said that he “never had access to nonpublic information or profited from my position” and argued that he did not have any conflicts of interest.

However, the billionaire investor left that role just as the New Yorker was set to publish a lengthy investigation laying out Icahn’s potential conflicts of interest. Icahn owns a stake in a refinery in Texas, and had previously tried to persuade the Obama administration to change regulations regarding ethanol blending in gasoline in a way that could have helped that refinery. He then pushed the Renewable Fuels Association to back an executive order changing those regulations in February, according to the New Yorker.

Duckworth urged the FBI to probe whether Icahn violated a criminal conflict of interest statute by working to change a regulation that would have benefitted him financially.

“I am confident that you will understand my grave concern that, if the FBI fails to thoroughly investigate Mr. Icahn’s potential violations of criminal conflict of interest statutes, our Nation could experience a significant increase in future public corruption, as wealthy individuals are empowered to take advantage of a new ‘Icahn loophole’ to serve as unpaid officers or employees of the Executive Branch of the United States Government while working to modify Federal programs and policies in a manner that directly benefits their own personal financial interests,” she wrote.