Senator to ‘Mar-A-Lago crowd:’ Did you profit from the VA, or nah?

Matt Saintsing
February 07, 2019 - 11:44 am

Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is scrutinizing the far-reaching influence three Florida businessmen linked to President Donald Trump had over the Department of Veterans Affairs, and wants to know if they've personally profited based on their access to internal VA information. 

Warren sent a letter Wednesday directly to Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, doctor Bruce Moskowitz and attorney Marc Sherman—known unofficially as the “Mar-a-Lago crowd”—asking for assurances they did not use their wide-ranging influence to inform any financial investments. 

RELATED: Here’s how the Mar-a-Lago crowd influenced VA

Photo by Kelsey Kremer/The Register-DesMoines

“Although you reportedly had access to and influence over key agency decisions and decision makers, you were reportedly not subject to any of the conflicts-of-interest and other ethics rules that apply to government employees,” wrote Warren. 

“As a result, I am concerned that you have had the opportunity to profit from your arrangement, including possibly by engaging in trades or other actions to enrich yourselves or other third parties using nonpublic information that you obtained from VA officials.” 

ProPublica reported last summer that the three men had broad sway over the agency, including influence over who should fill vacant positions within the department, contracting, and even managing parts of the budget. 

They also reportedly had involvement over VA’s electronic health record overhaul efforts. The trio reviewed an internal draft of a contract for the project worth $10 billion, according to a December ProPublica report.  

RELATED: Two groups sue VA over key documents related to 'Mar-a-Lago crowd

The three have denied they benefited financially from their influence, but Warren said she’s “concerned” over their supposed “involvement in internal VA deliberations and decisions.” Specifically, Warren is looking for assurances they did not make any financial investment based on “nonpublic information.” 

“None of us has gained any financial benefit from this volunteer effort, nor was that ever a consideration for us,” the men said in a statement to ProPublica. 

Warren’s looking for a response from Perlmutter, Moskowitz, and Sherman by Feb. 15. 

To read the full letter click here

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