July 27, 2017

Warren, Whitehouse Ask Mnuchin Whether Carl Icahn Had Any Contacts with FSOC Members

After Taking on Role of Special Adviser to the President, Icahn Reverses Stance on AIG Breakup, Prompting Questions About His Interactions with FSOC

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in his role as Chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), requesting information on whether Carl Icahn communicated with any FSOC members as the council considers whether to reverse the designation of American Insurance Group (AIG) as a systemically important financial institution (SIFI).

Mr. Icahn, who currently serves as a special adviser to President Trump, maintains a large stake in AIG. The company received a $182 billion bailout from American taxpayers in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and FSOC ultimately designated AIG as a SIFI in 2013, subjecting it to increased oversight and regulation. This caused Mr. Icahn to publicly call on AIG's CEO to split the company into pieces so that it would shed its SIFI status and avoid additional oversight and regulation. However last month, Mr. Icahn began "easing off of his demands for a breakup of AIG," according to media reports.

In their letter, the senators asked if Mr. Icahn, in his capacity as a Special Adviser to President Trump, may have provided input to or received information from FSOC regarding its deliberations on AIG's SIFI status.

"There is ample evidence that Mr. Icahn will not hesitate to discuss and advocate for positions that benefit him personally, even with Administration officials with whom he has interacted with in his ‘Special Adviser' role," wrote the senators. "Given Mr. Icahn's recent modification of his position on the breakup of AIG, and his past interactions with Administration officials," the senators asked Secretary Mnuchin to describe what steps FSOC has taken to prevent interested parties from influencing its decisions, and if any FSOC members had any contact with Mr. Icahn regarding the AIG matter.

The letter follows a previous referral from the senators to the heads of the CFTC, SEC and EPA for an investigation of potential insider trading, market manipulation, and other securities and commodities law violations in the market for renewable fuel credits by Mr. Icahn.