Aug 13, 2018

Watchdog flags Wilbur Ross stock holdings

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A campaign finance watchdog filed a complaint Monday alleging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross could have violated the law by holding stock in companies that may have been affected by Trump administration directives.

Why it matters: Add this to the list of questions Ross has faced over his assets — a month ago the U.S. Office of Government Ethics warned him his "actions, including... continued ownership of assets required to be divested in [his] Ethics Agreement and... opening of short sale positions, could have placed [him] in a position to run afoul of the primary criminal conflict of interest law.”

The big picture: Former HHS Secretary Tom Price and former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt departed the administration after facing months of questions over similar legal and financial issues.

Details:

  • Ross may have violated three laws by delivering false statements and omissions about his holdings in congressional testimony and financial disclosures, the Campaign Legal Center alleges, per CNBC’s Dan Mangan.
  • The stock holdings in question: Invesco, which has acquired a “major” interest in Chinese steel, per the complaint, Greenbrier, "a steel-dependent rail car manufacturer," as well as Air Lease, and Sun Bancorp.
  • The complaint seeks the department’s Office of the Inspector General to open an investigation.
  • "Secretary Ross has not violated any conflict of interest law or regulation,” Ross’ lawyer said, per Mangan.

The Office of Government Ethics previously found they had no evidence to contradict Ross' claims about his holdings — that his failure to sell his stock holdings was "inadvertent."

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 4,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,000 deaths reported in New York City, per Johns Hopkins.

The state of play: President Trump said Tuesday it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 860,181 — Total deaths: 42,354 — Total recoveries: 178,359.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 189,633 — Total deaths: 4,081 — Total recoveries: 7,136.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk from COVID-19.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: UN warns of recession with "no parallel" to recent past

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 859,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

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