Democrats Call For Probe On Icahn For Financially Exploiting Informal Presidential Adviser Role

Eight United States Senators from the Democratic Party are demanding that Carl Icahn, the activist investor and Trump adviser, be investigated for possible violation of laws including insider trading. This is pertaining to his advice and investments in renewable fuel credits.

In a letter that was sent to federal environment and financial agencies, the group of eight senators wondered whether Icahn used his influential role in the Trump administration to shape policy that would cause renewable fuel credits prices to go down. This was with the intention of benefitting the oil refining firm CVR Energy which has a heavy involvement in fuel credits markets. Icahn owns a substantial stake in CVR Energy.

“We are writing to request that your agencies investigate whether Carl Icahn violated insider trading laws, anti-market manipulation laws, or any other relevant laws based on his recent actions in the market for renewable fuel credits,” the letter by the eight Democratic senators stated.

Federal agencies

The eight senators who sign the letter were Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren, Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, Delaware’s Thomas Carper, Illinois’ Tammy Duckworth, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar.

The letter is demanding a responses to be given by the agencies by 9th June. The agencies include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Informal adviser role

A statement issued by the White House said that the activist did not have any formal role in the administration and was not involved in making policy either. According to the White House, Icahn was just a private citizen who happens to know the president and whose opinion is sought by the president every now and then.

The request for an investigation was triggered by the fact that Icahn last year bet heavily that there would be a drop in renewable fuel credits prices. In the letter by the Democratic senators, it is alleged that the activist investor made a recommendation for policies and personnel that ensured the fuel credits prices would drop and this is what eventually happened leading to Icahn making a profit of $50 million.

The senators also listed the events that led to the fall in renewable fuel credits prices. One of the events was Icahn recommending to the president to appoint Scott Pruitt the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The other event was Pruitt getting nominated in December last year to the position.