Dems ask if Trump aide Bill Shine is breaking ethics laws

A group of Democratic senators wants the White House counsel’s office to answer questions and provide documentation on whether a senior administration official is breaking ethics laws by receiving money from 21st Century Fox.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBrown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Gillibrand announces exploratory committee to run for president on Colbert Native American group denounces Trump for using Wounded Knee in attack against Warren MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseAG pick Barr emphasizes independence from Trump Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Democrat previews Mueller questions for Trump’s AG nominee MORE (R.I.) and Edward MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: Watchdog investigating EPA enforcement numbers | EPA's Wheeler faces Senate grilling | Interior's offshore drilling staff returning to work during shutdown EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Ocasio-Cortez, progressives express disappointment with climate panel MORE (Mass.) sent a letter Monday to White House counsel Emmet Flood asking for documents and detailed answers regarding payments Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, is getting from his former employer.

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"21st Century's Fox's previous and ongoing payments to Mr. Shine of millions of dollars in severance payments raise questions about his compliance with federal conflict of interest statutes and regulations," the senators wrote.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The letter, first reported by CNBC, was sent just weeks after a financial disclosure report showed Shine would receive guaranteed bonuses from 21st Century Fox in 2018 and 2019. The bonuses are said to total about $7 million, with about $3.5 million each year.

Shine received $8.4 million when he left his role at Fox News.

The Democratic senators argue that the payments represent a breach of ethics laws. They also asked whether Shine was provided “any authorizations or ethics waivers regarding his participation in meetings or communications related to particular matters that affect 21st Century Fox, Fox News Channel, and its affiliates.”

Shine left Fox News in May 2017 after facing criticism for his handling of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations against some top executives at the network. He joined the White House in July of this year.