Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff, Marc Short, may be violating conflict of interest laws, with his personal stock holdings in companies that he has met with as part of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. Following up on a CREW blog, a recent NPR report found that Short holds $500,000 to $1.6 million worth of stock in companies including UnitedHealth Group, CVS, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Wal-Mart and Disney, all of which have participated in meetings that Short attended.
Short reportedly requested a certificate of divestiture from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), which demonstrates that the Office of the Vice President was aware of the potential conflict of interest. However, Short has reportedly yet to sell his stocks, and by participating in coronavirus response meetings with companies whose stock he held, he may have violated conflict of interest laws. CREW has previously filed a criminal complaint requesting an investigation into Short’s actions.
CREW has requested documents from OGE containing any communications regarding Marc Short, his possible certificate of divestiture, and any communications between OGE and the Office of Vice President.
These requested records will contribute to the public’s understanding of Short’s apparent failure to divest these conflicting assets and the actions that OGE is taking to ensure compliance with conflict of interest rules. Marc Short appears to be in violation of conflict of interest laws, and OGE should be taking necessary steps to resolve the issue. The public has a right to know whether Short is making appropriate decisions in favor of what is best for the American people, rather than what will bring him the most profit, and whether OGE is working to hold him accountable to the law.