Labor Department official steps down amid ethics questions: report

Associate Deputy Labor Secretary Michael Avakian has resigned less than a month after a brief suspension following an ethics probe, according to Bloomberg Law.

Avakian resigned Friday, Bloomberg reported, citing a Labor Department official.


His departure also follows a request by House Democrats last month for information about his work for a steel company in a lawsuit against a workers union. He reportedly continued to work for the company three months after joining the Labor Department last year.

The Labor Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottTop Trump health official warned against controversial ObamaCare changes in private memo Top Trump health official warned against controversial ObamaCare changes in private memo Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage push MORE (D-Va.) asked for information on whether Avakian was working on union-related policy issues while representing D5 Iron Works Inc. in a lawsuit against an Indiana ironworkers union, according to Bloomberg.

Avakian filed two motions on the company’s behalf after joining the department and was suspended without pay for two weeks in 2018 for exercising “bad judgment,” according to Bloomberg, citing a spokesperson.

In the letter, Scott asked for a slew of documents, including a copy of any ethics waivers granted to Avakian, and any consultations Avakian had with ethics officials about outside work.

While Avakian did not knowingly violate any criminal statutes or ethics rules in his work for D5, Labor Department officials said, he misunderstood a directive from ethics officials to “wrap up” his work with the company, according to Bloomberg.