Billionaire Carl Icahn Reportedly in "Legal Jeopardy" for Trying to Influence Trump Policies

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Published on 19 Aug 2017, 2:38
Hours after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he would no longer be advising President Trump, The New Yorker dropped a lengthy story on his efforts to change a policy that hurt a company he is invested in. The story, by Patrick Radden Keefe, said that Icahn could be in "legal jeopardy." “He’s walking right into possible criminal charges,” Richard Painter, a Bush administration ethics lawyer, told Keefe. Painter cited a federal statute that "makes it illegal for executive-branch employees to work on any matter in which they may have a direct financial interest." Icahn's lawyer told Keefe the rule doesn't apply to Icahn. “Unlike a government employee, Mr. Icahn has no official role or duties and he is not in a position to set policy.” he said. Icahn has a 82% stake in CVR, a refiner. Refiners have to blend ethanol into their products, or buy credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN), from refiners that do. The cost of these RINs has increased, costing CVR more and more money. Icahn has lobbied vocally against the policy that forces refiners like CVR to buy RINs, arguing in favor of changing the "point of obligation," which would force other parties to buy them instead. In December, it was announced that Icahn would be a special adviser to Trump, then the president-elect, with a focus on regulation. "His help on the strangling regulations that our country is faced with will be invaluable," Trump said at the time. Icahn told Bob Dinneen, the head of the Renewable Fuels Association, which had been supporting the existing RIN policy, in February that an executive order would change the rules.
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