Carl Icahn Mulling Economic Position in Trump Administration

Posted on: November 22, 2016, 07:04h. 

Last updated on: November 22, 2016, 10:58h.

Carl Icahn is reportedly considering an official economic position offered by President-elect Donald Trump.

FOX Business Network says it has learned the two New York billionaires who have both owned casinos are in talks to bring Icahn onboard as an economic advisor to the presidential administration.

Carl Icahn economic advisor position
Some in New Jersey would like to see Carl Icahn’s businesses take the Atlantic City Expressway west out of town, but while rumors abound that he could be on his way to Washington, DC, the business mogul is more likely staying put in the Big Apple. (Image: Adam Jeffery/CNBC)

While New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-District 3) is going after Icahn through a legislative bill to block the billionaire from reopening the defunct Trump Taj Mahal for at least five years, Icahn could be on his way to DC. Those odds look slim, however, as Icahn has showed little interest in serving the US government.

The highest economic position in Trump’s Cabinet is Treasury Secretary. The Treasury Secretary is the president’s chief economic advisor, and along with Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General, is considered one of the four most important roles in the Cabinet.

But Icahn told CNBC earlier this month regarding possibly becoming Treasury secretary, “There’s no way I would do that.”

Conflict of Interest?

What isn’t known is whether Trump offered Icahn an official government position, or if it’s more of an informal advisor role. Icahn has been in the latter capacity throughout Trump’s primary and presidential campaigns. It’s also unclear if Icahn has any true interest in working with the Trump White House.

What is clear is that Icahn has no intentions of stepping away from Icahn Enterprises.

Even at the age of 80, Icahn continues to oversee the conglomerate on a day-to-day basis. Though Icahn’s Trump Entertainment Resorts no longer has any active casinos following the closing of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Icahn still has numerous casino holdings through his 68 percent stake in Tropicana Entertainment.

If Icahn takes on some sort of official role in the Trump administration, conflicts of interest could arise. But according to attorney Stanley Arkin, that isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker.

“Problems come when they start talking about particular things and how close he is to the particular issues,” Arkin explained. “I think the only conflict of interest problem would be if he began to speak to Donald about an area or an individual company that he’s invested.”

Steering clear of issues Icahn’s invested in might be difficult. Icahn Enterprises has holdings in the automotive, energy, gaming, railway, mining, food, packaging, metals, real estate, and fashion business segments.

New York State of Mind

Worth more than $16 billion, Carl Icahn is a serial corporate raider who has controlled some of the world’s largest businesses throughout his career. Companies like TWA, Viacom, Time Warner, Western Union, Nabisco, and Texaco just to name a few.

Icahn is also a philanthropist and has joined the Giving Pledge to donate at least 50 percent of his fortune to charitable endeavors. But make no mistake, Icahn’s primary passion is the all-mighty dollar.

His Twitter bio reads, “Some people get rich studying artificial intelligence. Me, I make money studying natural stupidity.”

Even if Icahn were to accept an official role within the Trump White House, it’s rumored that Icahn would remain working out of his offices in New York City. After all, Icahn Enterprises’ headquarters is in the General Motors Building, which is just a block from Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.