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Liberal advocacy group Public Citizen yesterday sent a formal letter of complaint to the U.S. House of Representatives about Carl Icahn, over his unpaid advisory role in the Trump White House. In short, it argues that Icahn should have registered as a lobbyist before advocating for a change to the EPA's ethanol mandate ― a change that could benefit Icahn's holdings in CVR Energy.

Icahn responded publicly by calling Public Citizen's claims "fake news" (no Carl, that's not what "fake news" is) and then basically arguing his case on the EPA rules (as opposed to the lobbying issue, which he quickly dismissed by saying his lawyers signed off).

Bottom line: It was entirely predictable that accusations of conflict would emerge over Icahn, who continues to pull double-duty as a billionaire activist investor (managing his own money) and as a special advisor to President Trump on regulation.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
20 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.