He vows to be a fresh voice in the Trump administration, but in one way he is like many of the others: He is wealthy, with a vast and complicated array of assets.
New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci owns property and businesses worth more than $50 million, according to a financial disclosure report filed with the government’s chief ethics agency. The biggest source of his wealth is an ownership stake in an investment fund he founded, SkyBridge Capital.
The fund is in the process of being sold to a division of Chinese company HNA Group, a deal that has drawn scrutiny and helped dash Scaramucci’s hopes to move to the White House much earlier in the year. He was turned down as chief liaison to the business community in February.
“In any administration there are always some really extraordinary wealthy individuals, but in this White House, there are so many,” said Don Fox, who stepped down as general counsel at the Office of Government Ethics in 2013. “Their finances, their potential conflicts, become exponentially more complicated to manage.”
Scaramucci joins a long list of former Goldman Sachs employees in the administration, including economic adviser Gary Cohn, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
SkyBridge accounted for a bulk of his income. In the nearly 18 months from the start of last year through June 27, Scaramucci took in about $10 million in salary and other income from the investment fund.
The financial disclosure also shows Scaramucci earned $88,461 as a contributor to Fox Business Network.
Scaramucci expressed frustration on Thursday with the scrutiny of his personal holdings, and the conflict they may pose.
“I sold SkyBridge. I don’t work there anymore,” he told CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday morning. “There’s residual profits that once the sale occurs I am going to receive, but I am not on salary. I do not have a W2 there. What do you want me to tell you?”
SkyBridge announced it struck a deal to sell to HNA Capital and RON Transatlantic in January. A call to SkyBridge’s spokesperson was not immediately returned.
Another issue raised by Scaramucci’s holdings involves the treatment of taxes on gains from the SkyBridge sale. Federal officials are allowed to file a so-called certificate of divestiture to defer paying taxes if they are being forced to sell an asset because of potential conflicts with their public job.
Since Scaramucci announced the SkyBridge sale long before he took his job, that raises the possibility he will fail to qualify, putting in doubt perhaps millions of dollars of profit for him.
Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics and a big critic of the Trump administration, has tweeted that Scaramucci should have waited for a ruling about whether he needed to sell before entering into a deal to do so.
He tweeted on Tuesday, “U don’t qualify for employee tax relief by entering into a deal & then go looking for a job that may or may not necessitate closing the deal.”
But Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush, isn’t so sure. He said that Scaramucci may be able to qualify if owning SkyBridge is deemed a conflict before the sale is complete.
“They don’t take away the certificate of divestiture because you thought about selling before,” Painter said.
Scaramucci’s lawyer, Elliot Berke, said in an email Thursday that his client had been advised to sell SkyBridge to avoid conflicts before he stuck a deal to do so. “Throughout the review, career nonpartisan officials have recommended he be granted a certificate of divestiture, as has the White House Counsel’s office,” Berke wrote.
Scaramucci has vowed to shake up the administration in part by rooting out those who leak information to press, and the release of his personal finance report on Politico on Wednesday stoked his anger.
He took the Twitter with a vow to contact investigators.
“In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony,” he tweeted, “I will be contacting @FBI and the @JusticeDept #swamp @Reince45.”
In fact, the report wasn’t leaked. It was released after a public records request by a Politico reporter to the Export-Import Bank, where Scaramucci had been employed at a senior level since mid-June.
The Associated Press subsequently obtained the same financial disclosure Thursday. A reporter filled out a publicly available form, turned it in at the bank’s office and was emailed a copy of Scaramucci’s financial disclosure about 30 minutes later.
The report shows that Scaramucci owns several residential properties and businesses. A stake in the New York Mets and property in the Hamptons on Long Island are each worth at least $1 million.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.