December 10, 2018

Warren, Colleagues Demand Answers on White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine’s Compliance with Federal Ethics Law

Former Fox News Executive to Receive Millions from Former Employer While Working at White House

Washington, DC – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), today sent a letter to Acting White House Counsel Emmet Flood to request information regarding Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine and his compliance with federal ethics laws and regulations. The letter follows the recent release of a financial disclosure form which revealed that Mr. Shine, a former executive at 21st Century Fox, the current owner of Fox News, is scheduled to receive millions of dollars in payments from 21st Century Fox while working at the White House.
In July 2018, President Trump appointed Mr. Shine to serve as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications, touting Mr. Shine’s “two decades of television programming, communications, and management experience,” including his experience as Co-President of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. According to Mr. Shine’s recently-released financial disclosure, Mr. Shine received an $8.4 million severance payment from 21st Century Fox in 2017 and is scheduled to receive additional payments of $3.5 million in 2018 and 2019, even while serving in the White House.
In their letter, the senators expressed concern with Mr. Shine’s continued receipt of large payments from Fox News while he serves in the White House, and noted that such payments may place him in violation of federal ethics laws and regulations. The senators’ letter indicated that Mr. Shine may be violating federal statutes and regulations banning financial conflicts, supplementation of income, and extraordinary payments, as well as President Trump’s ethics pledge. The senators also noted that while Mr. Shine has received waivers allowing him to skirt some ethics obligations, they do not appear to cover all of his potential violations of ethics rules and regulations.
“21st Century’s Fox’s previous and ongoing payments to Mr. Shine of millions of dollars in severance payments raise questions about his compliance with federal conflict of interest statutes and regulations,” the senators wrote.
To address their concerns, the senators asked the White House to respond to a series of questions about Mr. Shine’s compliance with federal ethics law by no later than January 2, 2019.
Senator Warren’s letter follows her recent introduction of the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, a comprehensive bill that, among other ambitious measures, would eliminate both the appearance and the potential for financial conflicts of interest by requiring most executive branch employees to recuse themselves from all issues that might financially benefit them or a previous employer or client from the preceding four years.