- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The FBI should investigate whether billionaire Carl Icahn sought to use his status as a special adviser to President Trump to enrich himself, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat, said in a statement Wednesday.

Mr. Icahn, the majority owner of CVR Energy, reportedly has pushed for the administration to relax parts of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard — the law that requires ethanol be blended with gasoline — in order to benefit his own company. CVR Energy, like other companies that lack the ability to blend the fuel themselves, are required by law to instead purchase biofuels credits known as RINs.

Those purchases can cost companies tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Critics, including Ms. Duckworth, say it’s obvious that Mr. Icahn used his access to and influence over Mr. Trump to try and change the program for financial gain.

“It appears Mr. Icahn potentially violated the principal criminal conflict of interest statute … [and] abused his role as a special advisor to the president of the United States on issues relating to regulatory reform by participating personally and substantially … on a government matter that directly affects his own financial interests,” she said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“Our nation relies on the FBI to combat major white collar crime and public corruption that undermines public trust in government. It would set a dangerous precedent for the FBI to turn a blind eye to suspicious activity that was so flagrant,” she wrote.

Earlier this summer, Democratic senators also called for a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Mr. Icahn.

So far, the Environmental Protection Agency has not made any changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, though agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in the past has been critical of the program. Mr. Trump has been a staunch supporter of the program and of ethanol more broadly, dating back to his early days on the presidential campaign trail.

Mr. Icahn also has bet against RINs in the market, wagering millions of dollars on the likelihood that the price of the credits would drop dramatically. The prices surely would drop if the administration relaxed requirements that companies such as CVR purchase them.

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