Paperwork Is in for Agriculture Secretary03/13/2017
The White House has submitted nomination paperwork for agriculture secretary pick Sonny Perdue — more than seven weeks after President Donald Trump nominated him.
The Senate Agriculture Committee received the nomination on Thursday. Perdue’s ethics paperwork has also now been received.
The paperwork was dated March 7 and posted online by the Office of Government Ethics over the weekend. It’s one of several key documents required by the Senate Agriculture Committee, the 21-member panel tasked with vetting the Cabinet pick, before it moves forward with the confirmation process.
According to the federal ethics documents, Perdue plans to step down from his business holding company and restructure his family trusts in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest should the Senate confirm him to be secretary of agriculture. As part of an agreement struck with the Office of Government Ethics, Perdue would resign from positions as manager of Perdue Management Holdings LLC and as a board member of Perdue Business Holdings Inc.
Under the ethics deal, a routine part of the confirmation process for senior executive branch nominees, Perdue would put his assets into a blind trust in order to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest, according to an official with President Donald Trump’s transition team who was not authorized to speak on the record, reports AJC.com.
The Republican agreed to restructure the family trusts that control Perdue Business Holdings so he won’t have say over its investments. The holding company owns 25 percent of Perdue Partners, according to the financial disclosures, which acquired a regional trucking firm in 2012 that quickly went out of business.
Perdue would also leave positions at the National Grain and Feed Association, the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Washington-based think tank the Bipartisan Policy Center.
In financial disclosure documents that were filed alongside the ethics agreement, Perdue and his wife Mary claimed between $11.2 million and $47 million in assets. Those include real estate in Butts County and undeveloped land near Disney World the governor had previously purchased from a developer he’d appointed to the state’s economic development board.
The Perdues also reported up to $2.5 million in liabilities and at least $938,000 in income.