A special advisor on regulation for the new U.S. Trump administration has been chosen to be billionaire investor Carl Icahn. He is a frequent critic of some Obama administration rules and a major fossil fuel investor.
The president-elect’s transition team announced this on Wednesday and said in a statement that the activist investor not have “specific duties” and will aid Donald Trump in an “individual capacity” rather than as a federal employee or special government employee. And hence while advising Trump on policy, he likely will not have to give up his varied business interests.
“I am proud to serve President-elect Trump as a special advisor on regulatory reform. Under President Obama, America’s business owners have been crippled by over $1 trillion in new regulations and over 750 billion hours dealing with paperwork,” Icahn said in a statement.
“It’s time to break free of excessive regulation and let our entrepreneurs do what they do best: create jobs and support communities. President-elect Trump is serious about helping American families, and regulatory reform will be a critical component of making America work again.”
Icahn, 80, has helped Trump to pick Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency and has informally given the president-elect advice in recent months, reported the Dow Jones which was the first media to report the news. He news report also said that choosing the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission would also be helped by Icahn.
Icahn has said that he supported Trump’s choice of Pruitt, who has battled the current president’s EPA and expressed doubts about how much humans affect climate change and has frequently criticized Obama administration rules. The EPA was one of the worst-run agencies he had ever seen, Icahn previously has said.
Battling against companies to make changes that he believes will boost their share prices is one of the attributes that the activist investor is known for. All of the major holdings of Icahn could be affected by Trump’s regulatory agenda and his holdings include CVR Energy, Cheniere Energy and insurance giant AIG.
Icahn previously had a major stake in Apple, among other notable companies.
In a TV interview earlier this month, Icahn said the “most important thing” for Trump’s administration to do is “absolutely change these regulatory agencies” that have overreached, pointing to the EPA.
“What’s happened over the last eight years is companies are afraid to invest because they’re afraid of what is going to happen if they invest … you’re afraid that they’re going to come in and ruin your business,” Icahn said.
However, as he would not want to repeal Dodd-Frank, the post-financial crisis regulatory act that Trump has said he wants to roll back, he says that he is “not against regulation”, in another TV interview after Trump’s win in November.
But he said that “you can’t let the regulators start running the country.”
Icahn was an early supporter of Trump’s presidential bid. He gave $200,000 to Trump’s joint fundraising committee with the Republican Party and donated the maximum $2,700 to Trump’s campaign. Only $2,700 of his donation to that committee can go directly to the president-elect’s campaign.
(Adapted from CNBC)
Categories: Economy & Finance