Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who served as special adviser to President Trump on issues relating to regulatory reform, announced Friday that he is stepping down from his role effective immediately, according to The Hill.
Icahn, who owns a substantial stake in the oil and refining company CVR Energy, said in a letter to Trump on Friday that he is choosing to “end this arrangement because I did not want partisan bickering about my role to in any way cloud your administration’s important work.”
Icahn has been criticized by Democrats who said his advisory role created a conflict of interest because he had not taken a formal government job and was still running his businesses.
Earlier this year six Senate Democrats, including Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), reportedly called on the White House Counsel to investigate Icahn’s refusal to divest his private sector interests after reports Icahn had worked closely on a planned executive order to overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard.
The senators claimed Icahn significantly benefited from a policy proposal to shift the burden of complying with biofuel quotas from refiners to fuel blenders. They cited the Wall Street Journal, which reported CVR stocks increasing by 3.5 percent the day the proposal was sent to the White House.
According to the report, Icahn was appointed by Trump in December to serve the president in an “individual capacity” not as a federal employee. He was a strong supporter of the president from the beginning of his presidential campaign.