Donald Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, made at least $ 53 million from private corporations while collecting a tax salary and allegedly paying attention to the public rather than his own profits.
Ross reported that he made between $ 53 million and $ 127 million in his four years as head of the Department of Commerce. The federal government only requires civil servants to report a wide range of external income.
It is possible that Ross made “significantly more” by not being required to disclose certain amounts of income above $ 1 million, noted Washington watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, who reported on Ross’ financial disclosure filings earlier this week.
Ross’ many and profitable entanglements with private companies while he was supposed to attend to the American taxpayer aroused concern and criticism.
“Even in a corrupt government, Ross became notorious for mixing personal business with his government role,” CREW said in a statement.
News of Ross’ income while in the Trump administration follows a bombshell report in the Washington Post last month that an “obscure” security bureau within the Department of Commerce was serving as an aggressive “counterintelligence” unit, gathering intelligence on hundreds of Americans, including the own employees of the department.
The Investigation and Threat Management Service covertly searched workers ‘offices at night, scouring their emails looking for foreign influence and poring over citizens’ social media posts to get criticism of the census by the Department of Commerce, the Post , carried out is reported.
In one case, the unit opened a case against a Florida retiree who simply tweeted that the census was being skewed to “benefit the Trump Party,” records show. According to the Post, the Biden administration has suspended the ITMS investigations.
Ross is already involved in a new venture, a special purpose vehicle, which has reportedly attracted $ 300 million from investors. He founded the company in January in the Cayman Islands while he was still in public office, Forbes reported.
Lawmakers, CREW, and the Campaign Legal Center raised concerns about Ross’ business entanglements, even as he was in his government role negotiating with officials and other national leaders on issues that could affect his profits.
CREW called for an investigation in 2017 into whether he completely parted ways with the Bank of Cyprus and withdrew from trade negotiations with China that may have harmed his financial interests related to Navigator Holdings and Diamond S Shipping.
CREW also filed a complaint against Ross over possible insider trading and other violations the following year when he reportedly shorted Navigator shares after learning that the New York Times published a negative story about his connections with the company. Additionally, the watchdog organization filed a complaint against Ross to investigate whether he had breached any criminal law by attending multiple government meetings with companies he had not divested himself of.
A report from the Department of Commerce Inspector General late last year cleared Ross of insider trading allegations, but concluded that he was violating federal standards of not avoiding the appearance of ethical and legal violations.
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