A senior U.S. Treasury adviser kept buying and selling securities while fulfilling his role with the Obama administration.
According to financial disclosures revealed on Thursday by the Washington Free Beacon, Antonio Weiss bought and sold a maximum of $150 million in securities after being named a Treasury Department counselor in January 2015.
President Barack Obama first tried to appoint the former Lazard investment banker as the undersecretary of the Treasury for domestic finance in 2014 but a group of liberal Democrats in the Senate, headed by Mass. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, opposed his nomination on the basis that Weiss was too close to the Wall Street establishment.
After his subsequent employment, Weiss proceeded with 103 securities transactions, worth between $43 million and $156 million. The exact sum is as yet unknown as the personal financial statement released only suggests the range of value for a commodity, not the precise dollar figure.
Neither Weiss nor the Treasury Department has responded to the report.
Though Weiss’s activities were appraised to be “in compliance with applicable laws and regulations” according to Treasury attorney Elizabeth Horton, former U.S. attorney Matthew Whittaker takes issue with that judgment.
Whittaker, who now heads up the government ethics advisory group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, is urging a closer look at Weiss’s record of and consideration of how the STOCK Act might apply. This 2012 legislation was aimed at curbing the use of financial information by government officials for personal gain.
“The optics are not good and I would question how he is doing this while maintaining a full time job for the people. The market is usually open during normal business hours,” Whitaker told the Beacon on Tuesday.