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Trump Cabinet Nominees Delayed Over Ethics Questions


Two of President-elect Donald Trump's richest cabinet nominees have had their confirmation hearings delayed, possibly due to trying to untangle possible conflicts of interest tied to their massive wealth.

Energy billionaire Wilbur Ross, Trump's pick for Commerce Secretary, had his hearing moved from Jan. 12 to Jan, 18 because he hasn't completed all of the necessary government paperwork, according to Reuters.

The committee issued a statement about the delayed hearing:

The general practice of the Senate Commerce Committee has been to require complete applications on candidates for Senate confirmation before holding a hearing. While Mr. Ross has submitted his responses to the committee’s questionnaire, we have not yet received the ethics agreement he is working on with the Office of Government Ethics and the Department of Commerce to finalize.

In this instance, especially given that the committee will be proceeding with the hearing for another key cabinet appointment tomorrow, we have agreed to postpone [Jan. 12th]’s hearing until January 18, so that ethics officials have additional time to complete their work and provide relevant information to the committee. We both remain committed to fair consideration of Mr. Ross’ nomination.

But Ross' delay is just the latest instance of a postponed confirmation hearing just days before Trump takes office on Jan. 20.

Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for education secretary and the billionaire daughter of Amway founder Richard DeVos, also saw her hearing move from Jan. 11 to Jan. 17 due to lack of paperwork, according to NPR.

The DeVos family reportedly has significant investments in Social Finance Inc., a private company that refinances student loans, which could lead to a conflict of interest, according to The New York Times.

The rescheduled hearings for Ross and DeVos led to a change in schedule for Trump's labor secretary pick, Andy Puzder, the wealthy CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company fast food chains Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.

Puzder originally had his hearing scheduled for Jan. 17, but Reuters reports that will likely be moved due to DeVos' hearing getting rescheduled for that day and could be postponed until February.

Sources: Reuters, NPR, The New York Times, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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