The Campaign Legal Center complaint notes that in 2017, an Invesco subsidiary headed by Ross until he entered government, acquired an interest in Chinese steel. In April 2017, Ross announced an investigation into whether the U.S. should impose a tariff on steel imports, something the Campaign Legal Center said could have a direct and predictable effect on Ross’ financial interests, given his continued ownership of Invesco stock.
The complaint questions Ross’ assertion that he believed the stock had been sold.
“Ross may well have had a reason for delaying the divestiture of this stock,” the complaint said, citing the Center for Public Integrity’s calculations of the stock’s increased value.
Commerce Department officials did not immediately return requests for comment.
In July — responding to the Center for Public Integrity’s reporting — the Commerce Department issued a statement that said: “Nothing regarding Invesco has come before the Secretary. Additionally, Invesco is not regulated by the Commerce Department. Regardless, as the Secretary had been a former employee of Invesco, Invesco was on the list of companies for which he would have been required to recuse himself. It is a mischaracterization to imply that the reason why the shares were not sold was anything other than an inadvertent error and as soon as he discovered the problem, Secretary Ross notified the Commerce Department Ethics officials and promptly sold the shares.”