Four Democratic senators are requesting the White House counsel’s office to provide documents and answer detailed questions about whether Trump aide and former Fox News executive Bill Shine is breaking conflict of interest laws as he continues to get paid by 21st Century Fox.
Read the letter to the White House.
The move to initiate an investigation comes as ethics experts publicly question whether Shine broke any laws after CNBC first reported last month on his continuing payments from Fox.
Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted in November that Shine may have broken the “extraordinary payment regulation” which disallows federal employees to be paid in excess of $10,000 by a former employer, particularly if that company discovered an employee was being considered for a government position prior to their departure.
In their letter, the senators ask the White House whether Shine ever received the appropriate ethics waivers for not only these types of payments, but also his participation in meetings as it pertained to Fox News and 21st Century Fox.
The move to go after Shine also comes in the midst of Warren contemplating a run for president in 2020 and some within the Democratic Party questioning her decision to take a DNA test proving she had some form of Native American family origin. Warren took the test after Trump repeatedly mocked her as “Pocahontas” and questioned whether she had a Native American family background.
Jim Margolis, an advisor to former President Barack Obama during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns for president, told CNBC in an interview that he believes the timing of the test was ill advised because it coincided with the congressional midterm elections.
“I think her timing of doing it was really unfortunate,” Margolis said. “I thought it would come post 2018 and I don’t think it was helpful before the election. My guess is because it got so enmeshed in 2018 that she’s going to probably need to come back around to it,” he added.