January 15, 2019

Warren Asks Ethics Officials Whether Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Violated Ethics Laws While Seeking New Job

Mulvaney Reportedly Began Job Discussions with University of South Carolina While Leading CFPB, OMB

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to the Designated Agency Ethics Officials (DAEO) at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to request information regarding White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's compliance with federal ethics laws governing negotiations over post-government employment. The letter follows a report indicating that Mr. Mulvaney began discussions about becoming President of the University of South Carolina while he was serving as both OMB Director and Interim CFPB Director.

On January 7, 2018, the New York Times reported that Mick Mulvaney "initiated a discussion with a senior official" at the University of South Carolina (USC) about the possibility of becoming the school's next president.  Reports indicate that Mr. Mulvaney entered into these discussions while he still held two jobs in the federal government: Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Interim Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Reports also suggest that despite continuing to lead OMB and recently taking over as White House Chief of Staff, Mr. Mulvaney is "still interested in the presidency" at USC.

In her letter, Senator Warren expressed concern regarding Mr. Mulvaney's compliance with the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which requires senior government officials to disclose any negotiations or agreements for future employment to the relevant agency ethics officials.  The STOCK Act also requires Mr. Mulvaney to recuse himself from any and all matters that would create a conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict, and to notify agency ethics officials of that recusal. The Senator noted that both the OMB and CFPB have significant influence over policy issues affecting USC and other public universities, and asked the agencies' respective ethics officials to answer a series of questions about Mr. Mulvaney's compliance with the STOCK Act.

"Mr. Mulvaney is one of the top officials in the Trump Administration," wrote Senator Warren.  "His compliance with the STOCK Act is crucial to protecting American taxpayers and maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the federal government."

The senator has asked the DAEOs to respond to her inquiry by January 29, 2019.