CyberScoop: Watchdog complains about consultant helping Nielsen's DHS confirmation

Shaun Waterman
Nov 13, 2017
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A government ethics watchdog is calling for an investigation into potential violations of federal laws and ethics regulations by Homeland Security secretary nominee Kirstjen Nielsen, following CyberScoop reports that a consultant representing companies with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake had volunteered to help run her confirmation preparation.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center has asked federal officials — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to probe the matter.

Government departments aren’t allowed to accept voluntary work, for the same reason officials cannot accept valuable gifts — because of the risk it might create an obligation that could be repaid with an official act, explained the center’s Brendan Fischer.

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“The consultant has clear financial incentive to assist in the nomination of an agency secretary who would have the power to steer government contracts in his direction,” added Larry Noble, senior director and general counsel at CLC in a statement. “This unusual arrangement should be investigated because of the clear potential conflict of interest, and the danger that Nielsen can be compromised as DHS Secretary.”

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