WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Facing criticism from the government's top ethics watchdog, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross revealed Thursday he will sell all of his remaining stock holdings.
A well-known investor prior to joining President Donald Trump's administration, Ross acknowledged making inadvertent errors in completing the divestitures required by his ethics agreement.
Ross noted his ethics agreement allows him to retain some private equity holdings but said he has decided to sell his holdings in order to maintain the public trust.
'I have directed that all of my equity holdings be sold and the proceeds placed in U.S. Treasury securities,' Ross said. 'I look forward to continuing to serve the American people.'
The announcement from Ross came after he received a letter from Office of Government Ethics Acting Director and General Counsel David J. Apol.
In the letter, Apol expressed concerns regarding how recent actions by Ross may have negatively affected the public trust.
Apol noted financial disclosure forms and compliance documents Ross submitted to the OGE in the past year contained various omissions and inaccurate statements.
The letter specifically mentions two sales of Invesco Ltd. (IVZ) stock that took place after Ross told the OGE he had completed the sale of the assets.
Apol said the OGE has no information to contradict Ross' assertion that the omissions and inaccuracies were inadvertent but noted even inadvertent errors regarding ethical compliance can undermine public trust.
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