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AG Whitaker's Financial Disclosures Spur Questions

He was paid $1.15M over a 3-year period by FACT
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2018 7:41 AM CST
Acting US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, center, dines with other officials, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

(Newser) – The Justice Department on Tuesday released financial disclosure statements related to Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and they reveal one major source of income since 2015: some $1.15 million paid to him over the 2015-2017 period by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT, reports USA Today. He served as executive director of that group from October 2014 until he was selected as Jeff Sessions' chief of staff in September 2017. FACT is described by the New York Times as a group "active in conservative politics that does not reveal its donors." The forms also show he was paid $103,000 from the law firm where he was partner and $15,000 for appearing as a legal analyst on CNN. The revelations have spurred some questions and observations.

  • USA Today reports the disclosure forms were revised five times prior to their release. That has the advocacy group American Oversight calling on Congress to request the earlier versions to see what was added or removed. CNN reports the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a Freedom of Information Act request in hopes of getting all those versions.
  • The Times zeroes in on FACT's anonymous donor pool, writing, "The disclosure raised questions about who Mr. Whitaker’s financial patrons had been before he joined the Justice Department last year and whether he might have any undisclosed conflicts of interest."
  • The Washington Post highlights two details from the disclosures that had not previously been reported: the scope of his 2017 earnings from FACT ($502,000 for about nine months of work, or the equivalent of $715,000 a year, up 77% from what he was paid in 2016) and FACT's origin story, which dates not to 2014 but to 2012, when it was founded as the Free Market American Educational Foundation; it got tax-exempt charity status from the IRS under that name.
(Read more Matthew Whitaker stories.)

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