Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is tied up in major financial conflicts of interest
He even found a way to profit from exposure of his corruption.
By Matthew [email protected]firstname.lastname@example.org June 20, 2018
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s job responsibilities cast him as a central player in the multi-front trade wars the Trump administration has been instigating this spring. Ross is also an extraordinarily wealthy man who, according to blockbuster reporting out this week from Forbes’s Dan Alexander, has never divested from major financial conflicts of interests.
This lacks the comic elements of some of the Scott Pruitt corruption scandals and has largely been ignored amid mass outrage over the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, but it’s a significant story in its own right and a sign of congressional Republicans’ ongoing abdication of oversight responsibility even in a policy area where they’ve sometimes been at odds with President Trump.
The whole story is worth your time. But to highlight, Ross spent most of 2017 in office while maintaining partial ownership of, among other things:
• Chinese state-owned enterprises
• A shipping company tied to Russian oligarchs
• A Cypriot bank that’s involved in Robert Mueller’s investigation
• A major player in the auto parts industry with a direct stake in Commerce’s trade policy decisions
Perhaps the most egregiously corrupt aspect of this is that, according to Alexander, Ross even managed to find a way to profit off the exposure of his own corruption: “five days before reports surfaced last fall that Ross was connected to cronies of Vladimir Putin through a shipping firm called Navigator Holdings, the secretary of commerce, who likely knew about the reporting, shorted stock in the Kremlin-linked company, positioning himself to make money on the investment when share prices dropped.”
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