(Adds Democratic National Committee comment)
By Emily Stephenson and Svea Herbst-Bayliss
Dec 21 Billionaire Carl Icahn will advise Donald
Trump on rescinding what the activist investor called "excessive
regulation" on U.S. businesses, the president-elect's transition
team announced on Wednesday.
Icahn will serve as a special adviser, not a federal
employee, and he will not have specific duties, Trump's team
said in a statement. He will not take a salary, a transition
The pick could draw scrutiny because Icahn, whose major
investments include insurer American International Group
and oil refining business CVR Energy, could help shape
rules meant to police Wall Street and protect the environment.
In the transition team statement released on Wednesday,
Icahn said it was time to "break free of excessive regulation"
and let businesses create jobs.
Icahn, an early supporter of Trump's White House bid who has
at times been outspoken about regulation, has already helped the
transition team weigh candidates to lead the Securities and
Exchange Commission. He has held meetings at his New York City
office, not far from Trump Tower but away from reporters staked
out there, people familiar with the talks said.
Current SEC Chair Mary Jo White will leave in January.
Candidates to replace her have included former SEC Commissioner
Paul Atkins and Debra Wong Yang, a former federal prosecutor, a
source familiar with the matter said.
Over the years, Icahn's businesses have had occasional
regulatory run-ins, according to disclosures with the Financial
Industry Regulatory Authority. He is a large investor in
nutrition supplement maker Herbalife, which said at one
time it was investigated by the SEC.
"Voters who wanted Trump to drain the swamp just got another
face full of mud," Democratic National Committee spokesman Eric
Walker said in a statement, referring to Trump's pledge to clean
Icahn, who was once known as a corporate raider, said in a
recent Reuters interview the 2010 Dodd-Frank banking law "went
too far." He is a critic of the U.S. biofuels program that
requires oil companies to use renewable fuels such as ethanol.
"I do believe that, to some extent, we have gone overboard
concerning the environment. But I leave that to the experts in
that area," Icahn told CNN in a recent interview.
Trump and Icahn share some history in the casino business.
Icahn this year helped shutter the Trump Taj Mahal Casino
Resorts in Atlantic City, two years after buying it out of
bankruptcy. The casino was once a prized part of Trump's empire.
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson, Sarah N. Lynch, Steve Holland
and Diane Bartz in Washington, Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Chris
Prentice in New York and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by
Chris Reese and Alan Crosby)