FEATURED:

Trump names Icahn as special adviser

Trump names Icahn as special adviser
© Getty Images

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE on Wednesday named Carl Icahn to serve as a special adviser on issues relating to regulatory reform.

In a statement, the president-elect praised Icahn as one of the "word's greatest businessmen."

"He is not only a brilliant negotiator, but also someone who is innately able to predict the future especially having to do with finances and economies," Trump said in a statement.

"His help on the strangling regulations that our country is faced with will be invaluable.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Icahn will be advising Trump "in his individual capacity and will not be serving as a federal employee or a Special Government Employee and will not have any specific duties," according to the release.  
 
That means he is free from conflict-of-interest rules and will not have to separate himself from his business interests, as he won't be paid.  
 
At one point or another, he's held substantial or controlling positions in RJR Nabisco, Texaco, Philips Petroleum, Western Union, Viacom, Revlon, Time Warner, Motorola, Dell, Netflix, Apple and eBay. 
 
Those ties may now raise conflict-of-interest questions — for example, the 80-year-old who controls an oil refiner and has fought with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) helped Trump vet candidates to run that agency, according to the Wall Street Journal.

And Icahn is helping select the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Journal added

According to the report, candidates have reached out to him, and he is interviewing others per Trump's request. 
 
The billionaire investor was a strong supporter of the president-elect from the beginning of his presidential campaign and said Wednesday in a statement he's "proud" to serve under the president-elect.
 
“Under President Obama, America’s business owners have been crippled by over $1 trillion in new regulations and over 750 billion hours dealing with paperwork," Icahn said.

"It’s time to break free of excessive regulation and let our entrepreneurs do what they do best: create jobs and support communities. President-elect Trump is serious about helping American families, and regulatory reform will be a critical component of making America work again.” 

The Democratic National Committee panned the pick Wednesday evening, calling it "quid-pro-quo" and pointing out that Icahn will "be in charge of overseeing regulatory overhauls while simultaneously controlling or owning stock in companies that could benefit from the changes he makes."

"It looks like Trump isn’t the only billionaire set to profit off of the presidency," DNC Deputy Communications Director Eric Walker said.

“The corrupt nature of this arrangement cannot be understated. Voters who wanted Trump to drain the swamp just got another face full of mud.”

Updated 5:51 p.m.