Eight Democratic senators led by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts yesterday called for a federal investigation into whether investor Carl Icahn had violated insider trading laws and had indulged in market manipulation in his role as a special adviser to president Trump.
The senators have addressed a letter to current and acting heads of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), raising questions over Icahn's majority investment in oil refiner, CVR Energy.
They question, whether CVR, a company controlled by Icahn had made decisions on the basis of non-public information it had access to, thanks to Icahn's close ties to the Trump administration.
Under the EPA's rules CVR needed to either blend its oil with ethanol or buy credits. The senators suggest, the company timed the buying and selling of the credits on the basis of information Icahn had about forthcoming policy.
For most of his six-decade career, Icahn, 81, has been known as an outsider who took on corporate bosses to bully company managements into making spinoffs or selling themselves. Trump, who has been a long-time friend and business associate, had praised Icahn as a "brilliant negotiator."
According to the senators, Icahn used his position as an adviser to Trump to influence policy that would benefit CVR.
"We are writing to request that your agencies investigate whether Carl Icahn violated insider trading laws, anti-market manipulation laws, or any other relevant laws based on his recent actions in the market for renewable fuel credits," the letter stated.
While acknowledging that the group did not know if Icahn had done anything wrong, they wrote that "the publicly available evidence is troubling."
In addition to Elizabeth Warren , the letter was signed by Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan; Sherrod Brown, of Ohio; Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island; Thomas Carper, of Delaware; Tammy Duckworth, of Illinois; Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin; and Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota.