Trump nominees’ filings threaten to overwhelm federal ethics office

The New York Times reports: Rex W. Tillerson owns more than $50 million of Exxon Mobil stock, has earned an annual salary of $10 million and holds a range of positions — from director at the Boy Scouts of America to the managing director of a Texas horse and cattle ranch.

But Mr. Tillerson is prepared to resign from all those posts, sell all his stock and put much of his money into bland investments like Treasury bonds if he becomes secretary of state, according to an “ethics undertakings” memo he filed this week with the State Department. And, if he returns to the oil industry in the next decade, he could lose as much as $180 million.

The nine-page ethics letter detailing Mr. Tillerson’s commitments is the first of hundreds that will be made public in the coming weeks by members of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s cabinet and other top political appointees, presenting a historic test of the federal government’s ability to identify conflicts of interest — and figure out ways to avoid them.

Mr. Trump has selected what would be the wealthiest cabinet in modern American history, filled with millionaires and billionaires with complicated financial portfolios. Mr. Tillerson is worth at least $300 million, but is hardly the richest among them: Wilbur L. Ross Jr., the commerce secretary nominee; Betsy DeVos, the education secretary nominee; and Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary nominee, each hold assets estimated at more than a billion dollars. [Continue reading…]

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