John Kelly, Homeland Security Pick, Fails to Disclose Listed Board Memberships

John Kelly

A report from The Intercept suggests that John Kelly – President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security – failed to disclose his ties to three defense contractors.

The retired Marine Corps general did not disclose on ethics form that he was listed as a vice chairman at defense contractor lobbying firm Spectrum Group, as well as his board memberships with Michael Baker International and Sallyport Global, according to the report.

The newspaper discovered that Kelly’s board memberships were not listed on his federal ethics disclosure form nor his letter to the Homeland Security Department’s designated ethics official.

Under the federal law, Senate-confirmed nominees are required to list all positions at outside organizations on ethics forms that are vetted by the Office of Government Ethics and released to both the public and lawmakers.

According to the publication, Michael Baker International and Sallyport Global removed Kelly’s professional profile from their websites.

Kelly spent more than 40 years in the U.S. military. He led the U.S. Southern Command, which is responsible for military operations in Central and South America. Kelly’s command included counter-narcotics operations as well as oversight of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He retired in 2016.

Ethics experts believe that Kelly’s failure to disclose his listed board memberships violate ethics guidelines.

In response to a question about Kelly’s undisclosed position by The Intercept, the Trump transition team released following statement:

“General Kelly had no knowledge that he was listed on any of these websites and we are actively looking into the matter with close coordination with the Office of Government Ethics and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.”

The Department of Homeland Security was created after 9/11 attacks to fight terrorism. The department is responsible for cybersecurity, the transportation security administration, the coast guard, the border patrol and the secret service, as well as administrates animal disease research, disaster relief and immigration services. The agency would be key to Trump’s pledges to secure the border and control illegal immigration.

In 2010, Kelly’s son, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

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