- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

Treasury Secretary nominee John Snow said he will divest himself of stock holdings in 61 companies if confirmed by the Senate, as he released his financial-disclosure form yesterday.
Mr. Snow's financial-disclosure statement, which ran to 59 pages, also showed that he would be one of the wealthiest members of Mr. Bush's Cabinet. His confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled for Tuesday.
The exact amount of his extensive holdings could not be determined because Mr. Snow was required to report them only in broad ranges. However, according to the ranges he reports in his financial-disclosure statement, Mr. Snow has assets with a value of at least $77 million and possibly as high as $297 million.
Mr. Snow said in a letter with the disclosure form that he would sell all of his stock holdings in 61 companies, including CSX Corp. railroad company, of which he was chairman when tapped for the post last month, and invest the money in diversified mutual funds.
In doing that, Mr. Snow was going beyond the requirements of government ethics laws, which would have let him keep stocks in nonfinancial companies not under the supervision of the Treasury Department.
On Dec. 9, the day Mr. Bush announced his nomination, Mr. Snow also said he would forgo a lucrative severance package estimated to total up to $15 million that the CSX board could have awarded him.
"John Snow is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct," Treasury spokesman Rob Nichols told reporters during a briefing on the financial-disclosure documents.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters aboard Air Force One that "the president remains confident" that Mr. Snow will be confirmed despite the revelations of a drunken-driving arrest in 1982 and a child-support dispute with his ex-wife.
Mr. Snow had informed the White House about the incidents during the vetting process over his nomination.
Sen. John B. Breaux, Louisiana Democrat, said the matters had "nothing to do with his being secretary of Treasury. He's a good, solid pick. He's going to be confirmed, and I think he'll do a terrific job."
Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, said "a DUI arrest 20 years ago is not material" to the nomination. Concerning the child-support issue, Mr. Conrad said, "I don't know enough to pass judgment."

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