The head of the Office of Government Ethics has refused to approve Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s 2018 financial disclosure report, citing an inaccuracy concerning the former investing mogul’s holdings of BankUnited stock.
The action is the latest blow for Ross, who has repeatedly drawn scrutiny over his personal finances since he was nominated for the Commerce job. He is scheduled to testify next month before a House committee.
“OGE is declining to certify Secretary Ross’s 2018 financial disclosure report because that report was not accurate and he was not in compliance with his ethics agreement at the time of the report,” Emory Rounds, the OGE director, said in a Feb. 15 letter.
In an Oct. 31, 2018, report, Ross said he had “a mistaken belief” that an order to sell BankUnited holdings had been executed in 2017. That error was featured in a Campaign Legal Center complaint sent earlier this month to the Commerce Department’s inspector general that said if the false filing was knowingly made then that would be a violation of law.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ross said he held 100 BankUnited shares totaling about $3,700, “an amount that federal regulations deem de minimis and below the threshold of a possible conflict of interest.”
“While I am disappointed that my report was not certified, I remain committed to complying with my ethics agreement and adhering to the guidance of Commerce ethics officials,” Ross said.
The Campaign Legal Center on Tuesday applauded OGE’s action.
“It confirmed what we have been saying for a while now and it shows that OGE is also concerned about Secretary Ross’s commitment to upholding the public’s trust in government,” said Delaney Marsco, a legal counsel at CLC.
Last year, congressional Democrats asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate potential insider trading by the Cabinet secretary. He is set to appear before the House Oversight Committee on March 14.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
Droolin’ Dog sniffed out this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Ptemplefirstname.lastname@example.org (Patrick Temple-West)