Congressional ethics laws appear to require lawmakers to recuse themselves from shaping or voting on laws that would financially benefit themselves, their family or their future employers. But Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi accepted an offer to run a state trade organization, the Ohio Business Roundtable (BRT), while helping write the Republican tax bill.
The trade group’s member companies have donated to Tiberi’s political campaigns, and many of them stand to gain from the bill, which slashed business income taxes and introduced several provisions that will benefit wealthy investors and corporate executives in various industries. He will begin the job by January 31st.
International Business Times has identified 17 companies that are both members of BRT and donors to Tiberi’s 2018 campaign committee. Some of these businesses, including Marathon Petroleum, have lobbied Congress as recently as the fourth quarter of this year on tax issues that will directly benefit them. Executives from three of these companies — Marathon, Huntington Bancshares and L Brands — are members of the BRT Executive Committee. The BRT chairman, who is the CEO of Marathon Petroleum, discussed the specifics of the job with Tiberi during this time.
Tiberi’s office denies that the congressman’s role in writing the tax bill was influenced by his future employment. But ethics experts told International Business Times that the circumstances of Tiberi’s role in Congress and his upcoming job give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“I think [Tiberi’s] constituents had a right to ask whether he was representing their interests or those of the businesses he’ll be working for,” Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy and external affairs at government watchdog Common Cause, told IBT. “Tiberi shouldn’t have had a pen near the legislation, much less vote on it.”
Tiberi, whose estimated worth in 2016 was around $925,000, will see a major pay bump when he starts his new job. According to tax documents, current BRT president and CEO Richard Stoff made over $500,000 in 2016 including bonuses, deferred compensation and benefits. Senators make $174,000 per year.
So Tiberi helped write a law to make Ohio business owners wealthier, and he gets to cash out and pick up a nice industry group job to boot. He doesn't care, his work is done, the GOP tax scam got passed, and Tiberi's gonna get his fat stacks.
The rest of Ohio's 12th district?