Forbes first reported the short sale earlier this week. It appears that Ross was trading on nonpublic information—what’s typically known as insider trading, and which government officials cannot do. Ross denies this, but as Times reporter Mike McIntire writes, Ross’s explanation doesn’t really make sense.
There is more in the Forbes piece. Ross also had assets with ties to the Chinese government and the Russian-tied Bank of Cyprus. His family also appears to retain these and some unsold Navigator assets, Forbes found. Ross says he handed these holdings off to a trust for his family. But that hardly solves the question of conflicts of interest: As commerce secretary, he has the power to make decisions that will affect those investments. In other words, he can wield the federal government to enrich his heirs.
The “revolving door,” in which people move from the private sector