Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross didn't divest from foreign companies until a reporter found out he broke his promise
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Office of Government Ethics that he had divested from foreign companies, then kept his holdings for months, a Forbes investigation published Monday found.
Ross kept his stakes in a company co-owned by the Chinese government, a shipping firm linked to the Kremlin, and a Cyprus bank that is entangled in the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He pledged to rid himself of all possible conflicts of interest, but he and his family continued to do business with foreign companies affected by Ross' decisions as a government official.
After Forbes contacted him asking about his holdings, Ross said through a spokesperson that his financial disclosures would soon more accurately reflect his holdings. Soon after Ross learned that damaging stories would be published in the fall, the commerce secretary shorted stock in the Kremlin-linked company, setting himself up for more profit.
"The secretary did not lie," said the spokesperson, emphasizing that Ross did eventually divest. However, Forbes reports that Ross may have broken one policy by misrepresenting his finances in a sworn statement. He has reportedly amended that statement since then. Read more about Ross' tangled financial web at Forbes.