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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Gutiérrez Takes on Trump Buddy Icahn’s $31 Million “Stroke Of Luck”

March 15, 2018
Press Release
“The President, who many of us think is profiting illegally from the office – and we have filed impeachment articles because of it – seems to attract a lot of people with deep pockets and shallow reserves of judgement to his side.”

Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) said on the House floor this morning that billionaire investor and Trump friend Carl Icahn should be the target of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because of his extremely beneficial and well-timed stock dealings just before President Trump announced steel and aluminum tariffs.  Just a week before the President made public his intention to raise tariffs on steel, Icahn sold millions of dollars of stock in a manufacturing company dependent on steel, whose share price plummeted after President Trump made his announcement.  Coincidence?  Rep. Gutiérrez is not buying it.  He wrote to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton last week calling for the investigation (see press release: http://bit.ly/2DcEH5N and letter: http://bit.ly/2DbwCOM), and today brought an enlarged poster of Icahn to the House floor to make sure Chairman Clayton – and Mr. Icahn – get the message.

Mr. Icahn is chalking it all up to good fortune, but Rep. Gutiérrez said:

I guess you could say that Carl Icahn was lucky to unload his shares – valued at at least $31 million dollars – just before the President made his announcement.  But I suspect that luck had nothing to do with it.  Here is a Trump insider making a gigantic decision with tens of millions of dollars and we are just supposed to believe it is a coincidence?  Sorry, I’m not buying it.

And according to the Congressman, this fits a pattern of behavior by the President and those close to him:

The President, who many of us think is profiting illegally from the office – and we have filed impeachment articles because of it – seems to attract a lot of people with deep pockets and shallow reserves of judgement to his side.

The Congressman says this is all about transparency with the least transparent President in recent memory, and that the American people need reassurance that they are not ruled by “a kleptocracy like we see in Russia:”

Let’s demand that the friends who circle the White House and the Trump businesses provide the American people with answers and transparency.  That is all we ask, so that we can have greater confidence in our President and his family that they are not running a kleptocracy like we see in Russia where those who govern are simply governing to make money.

Rep. Gutiérrez concluded:

Mr. Speaker, no tax-returns, very little in the way of disclosure, recusals that do not seem to actually be recusals, hotel and business conflicts of interest, and the strong odor of something fishy, those close to the President who are making millions – apparently because of their proximity to the President – those people demand scrutiny from our watchdog agencies and in this case, it requires an investigation of Carl Icahn by the SEC.

As usual, Rep. Gutiérrez was admonished by the Speaker Pro Temp for engaging in, in the Chair’s opinion, “personalities of the President,” as you can see on the video.  This has become a regular feature of Rep. Gutiérrez’s floor speeches. 

A video of the Congressman’s remarks is here: https://youtu.be/ki0tvrkLAaI

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Floor Remarks

March 15, 2018

Last week, I wrote a letter to Jay Clayton, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, asking him to look into this guy…

That is Carl Icahn, the billionaire, financier, and buddy of our President Donald Trump.

It seems that he had a massive amount of stock in a company that sells cranes and equipment – which, in case you didn’t know – are made with a lot of steel.

Then, all of a sudden, Mr. Icahn sold his position in the crane and equipment maker and one week later, his friend, buddy, pal, and fellow billionaire Donald Trump announced he was proposing import tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Now we all know what happens to the stock of companies heavily dependent on steel and aluminum when the President announces he will impose new tariffs…their stock price goes down…a lot.

So, I guess you could say that Carl Icahn was lucky to unload his shares – valued at at least $31 million dollars – just before the President made his announcement. 

But I suspect that luck had nothing to do with it.

Here is a Trump insider making a gigantic decision with tens of millions of dollars and we are just supposed to believe it is a coincidence?

Sorry, I’m not buying it.

So I wrote the Chairman of the SEC to request that he investigate and I have not heard back from him.  But I hope he hears this speech.

In the letter, I said:

The announcement of tariffs on the heels of Mr. Icahn’s stock sale is highly suspicious.  The close relationship between the President and Mr. Icahn adds to the appearance of wrongdoing.

So I think the SEC has an obligation to investigate just because it looks bad and we are talking about the President of the United States and the people have the right to know that things are on the up and up.

Let’s remember that Icahn left as an advisor to Trump at the White House because, we are told, it would raise difficult conflicts of interest and presumably – just like the President – Icahn was not interested in selling off part of his empire just so that he could appear impartial and demonstrate core integrity to the American people.

The President, who many of us think is profiting illegally from the office – and we have filed impeachment articles because of it – seems to attract a lot of people with deep pockets and shallow reserves of judgement to his side. 

Icahn, who was a notorious corporate raider and vulture capitalist during the Clinton boom years of the 1990s, appears to me and a lot of other people to fit this mold.

If there is nothing to hide in this deal, then the SEC investigation will be quick and that will be that. 

But simply saying this multi-million dollar stroke of luck was just a coincidence is not flying.  Not with me, anyway.

Do you know the rigorous reporting of assets we as House members have to do  to fully disclose our debts and investments?  And those disclosures are all available to the public and the press goes over them with a fine tooth comb.

Every time we buy or sell a security over $1000, we have to file a form that then gets shared with the public.  And if we’re late with filing the paperwork, we have to pay a fine.  This may seem burdensome, but the important goal here is transparency and to ensure that Members are not using insider information they have access to to personally enrich themselves.

If I was as “lucky” as Carl Icahn to make a stock trade that my friend had the power to tell me the inside information on and it resulted in me making millions of dollars or avoiding losing millions of dollars…well, let’s see, there would be investigative reporters, hearings, an Ethics Committee report and maybe criminal charges. 

But for Mr. Icahn and his buddy President Trump, nothing.  At least not yet.

Let’s demand that the friends who circle the White House and the Trump businesses provide the American people with answers and transparency.  That is all we ask, so that we can have greater confidence in our President and his family that they are not running a kleptocracy like we see in Russia where those who govern are simply governing to make money.  

Mr. Speaker, no tax-returns, very little in the way of disclosure, recusals that do not seem to actually be recusals, hotel and business conflicts of interest, and the strong odor of something fishy, those close to the President who are making millions – apparently because of their proximity to the President – those people demand scrutiny from our watchdog agencies and in this case, it requires an investigation of Carl Icahn by the SEC.

[I ask Unanimous Consent that a copy of my letter to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton be placed in the record.]

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