Policy

Budget Nominee Mulvaney an Investor in Gold, Silver

President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee the federal budget holds stock in a range of funds, from gold and uranium mining to the global airline industry

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee the Office of Management and Budget, has significant investments in gold and the energy sector. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee the federal budget, holds stock in a range of funds, from gold and uranium mining to the global airline industry.

The South Carolina Republican, tapped by Trump in mid-December to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget, will play a central role in U.S. fiscal policy if confirmed by the Senate. A leading critic in Congress of government spending, Mulvaney’s own financial records show a broad range of holdings, including significant investments in gold and the energy sector.

Tax troubles

A summary of the four-term congressman’s finances made public by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics shows Mulvaney holds up to $95,000 in two exchange-traded funds focused on gold mining companies; up to $15,000 in the Central Fund of Canada, which invests in gold and silver bullion; and as much as $65,000 in gold and silver bars.

In the energy and natural resources sector, Mulvaney owns up to $100,000 in the Alerian MLP fund, which invests in companies focused on energy infrastructure, and as much as $75,000 in other natural resources funds.

He also has significant holdings in funds focused on uranium mining, airlines, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Mulvaney worked in the real estate industry before joining Congress, and he maintains ownership stakes in numerous land parcels in North Carolina and South Carolina, including a tree farm and land in Lancaster, S.C., worth up to $1 million, according to the document.

The Indian Land, S.C., resident has pledged to step down from management roles of his real estate entities if he’s confirmed as Trump’s budget chief. In an ethics agreement made public last week, Mulvaney also agreed to divest from 18 holdings in order to avoid any “actual or apparent conflict of interest.”

As director of OMB, the hub of the sprawling federal bureaucracy, Mulvaney would have a hand not only in fiscal matters but in virtually every policy issue on Trump’s agenda.

But another issue could potentially trip up Mulvaney’s confirmation process. A questionnaire he submitted to the Senate Budget Committee last week revealed he had recently paid more than $15,000 in back taxes he owed the federal government for employing a caretaker for his newborn triplets from 2000 to 2004.

Tax compliance problems have derailed multiple Cabinet nominations for previous administrations.

Mulvaney is scheduled to testify before the Budget panel and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

Modest fundraising

While Mulvaney has been an active investor, he has not been a prolific fundraiser.

In his four successful campaigns for Congress, the crusading conservative raised less cash than the average House member, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. For the 2016 election cycle, Mulvaney hauled in about $1.2 million between his campaign committee and leadership political action committee, roughly half the average amount raised by House members, which was $2.1 million.

Modest fundraising hasn’t put a dent in his electoral success. Mulvaney received at least 55 percent of the vote in four general elections, winning a slightly larger share of the vote every two years in his Republican-leaning congressional district.

His leadership political action committee, Marketplace Ideas and Conservative Knowledge (MICK), raised just $45,500 for the 2016 election cycle, well below the House average of $307,000, according to Center for Responsive Politics data. Leadership PACs are typically used to spread funds between candidates; members seeking a leadership role or committee gavel may curry favor within the conference by contributing to vulnerable colleagues directly or through the party’s war chest.

The Center for Responsive Politics looked at contributions from both individuals and political action committees. Mulvaney’s top donor in the 2016 cycle was the political action arm of Koch Industries, which pitched in $20,000, Center for Responsive Politics data showed. Individuals working for NVR Inc., the parent company of Ryan Homes and other homebuilders, gave $16,200 to the former real estate manager.

Overall, the largest chunk of Mulvaney’s fundraising support for the 2016 cycle came from the securities and investment sector, according to the center.

Through four campaigns for Congress, Mulvaney’s largest donor was the conservative political action committee Club for Growth, which contributed more than $85,000 between 2009 and 2016. Individuals working for Blue Cross/Blue Shield  gave nearly $45,000 over that period, while individuals working for South Carolina-based Tucker Lumber gave $36,000.

Other local interests that gave significant support to Mulvaney through his congressional career include SCANA Corporation, an energy-based holding company, and Nutramax Laboratories, a supplement manufacturer with a facility in Lancaster, S.C.

The financial disclosure form filed with the ethics offices also lists a liability of up to $100,000 in campaign debt stemming from Mulvaney’s successful 2008 run for the South Carolina state Senate. The document lists a term due date of October 2018. 

 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.