President Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Navy on Sunday removed his name from consideration over ethical concerns about his financial holdings.
Financier Philip Bilden said in a statement that he would be unlikely to meet the standards of the Office of Government Ethics.
“After an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests,” Bilden said in the statement.
Bilden becomes the second Pentagon pick caught up in financial ethics concerns.
Vincent Viola, the billionaire owner of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, withdrew his nomination as Army secretary earlier this month amid his own business entanglements.
After 25 years, Bilden recently retired as a co-founding member and senior adviser of HarbourVest Partners LLC, “a leading global private equity investment management firm with institutional assets under management currently in excess of $42 billion,” the White House said in a statement announcing his nomination on Jan. 25.
Mattis said in a statement that he will make a new recommendation to the president in the coming days.
He said Bilden’s withdrawal “was a personal decision driven by privacy concerns and significant challenges he faced in separating himself from his business interests. While I am disappointed, I understand and his respect his decision, and know that he will continue to support our nation in other ways.”
Just last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer shot down talk that Bilden might withdraw.
“Just spoke with him and he is 100% committed,” Spicer tweeted.
Bilden, who attended Georgetown University on an ROTC scholarship, was a military-intelligence officer in the US Army Reserve from 1986 to 1996, when he moved to Hong Kong and resigned his post, the Naval Institute reported.
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