Washington Post: Trump’s Homeland Security pick is caught up in a conflict of interest complaint

Nick Miroff
Nov 16, 2017
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President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, has been guided through her Senate confirmation process by a private consultant who represents companies seeking millions in DHS contracts, an arrangement that creates conflicts of interest, according to a government-ethics watchdog group as well as current and former national security officials.

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The Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group founded by former Federal Election Commissioner and Republican presidential campaign adviser Trevor Potter, filed an ethics complaint against Nielsen this week, citing the possibility of a financial windfall for Bingel. The complaint was sent to the White House, the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics.

“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,” said Larry Noble, the group’s general counsel, referring to Bingel.

“Government employees aren’t permitted to receive gifts or free services — especially from people with business before their department — because it calls the integrity of government decision-making into question,” Noble said. “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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