Duckworth asks FBI to investigate Trump ally Carl Icahn

Duckworth asks FBI to investigate Trump ally Carl Icahn
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Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthVet lawmakers urge Trump to halt heated words with North Korea Dem demands Trump provide potential death toll for war with North Korea Overnight Defense: Mattis says authority for North Korea action limited to 'imminent' threats | Corker vows to take up new war measure soon | CBO puts .2T price tag on updating nuclear triad MORE (D-Ill.) is calling on the FBI to investigate whether Carl Icahn, a former external adviser to President Trump, violated conflict of interest laws.

Duckworth’s request, outlined in a Wednesday letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, cites reports, including one this month in The New Yorker, that Icahn used his position to push an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule change that would have benefitted his fuel refining business.

“It appears Mr. Icahn potentially violated the principal criminal conflict of interest statute ... [and] 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 … on a government matter that directly affects his own financial interests,” Duckworth wrote to Wray.

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Icahn, a billionaire business magnate, was an adviser to Trump from the president’s inauguration until Aug. 18.

That day, The New Yorker published an extensive piece alleging that Icahn sought a regulatory change that would have removed the responsibility that fuel refiners pay for credits if they don’t blend enough biofuels into their products under the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard.

Icahn, who has never been a federal employee, denied the accusations.

CVR Energy, of which Icahn’s company owns 82 percent, stood to gain hundreds of millions of dollars if the policy, known as point-of-obligation, was changed.

Duckworth and other corn-state senators oppose the point of obligation change, believing that it could hurt the ethanol market.

It’s unclear whether Icahn would be subject to conflict of interest rules for federal employees. But Duckworth argues that he presented himself as representing the Trump administration, so he should be subject to federal rules.

“Our nation relies on the FBI to combat major white collar crime and public corruption that undermines public trust in government,” Duckworth wrote.

“It would set a dangerous precedent for the FBI to turn a blind eye to suspicious activity that was so flagrant, President George W. Bush’s former chief ethics lawyer [Richard Painter] told The New Yorker, ‘He’s walking right into possible criminal charges.’ ”

The FBI, which almost never confirms or denies investigations publicly, did not respond to a request for comment.