WASHINGTON, March 13, 2017 - President Trump’s nominee for agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, has promised to give up control of his agribusiness, trucking and real estate interests.
In his ethics agreement with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), the former Georgia governor promised to move the assets into a blind trust, which he and his wife will not benefit from nor control.
Perdue’s business interests are held in a corporation known as Perdue Business Holdings, which is in turn controlled by two separate family trusts. In addition to moving the assets to the new trust, Perdue said he would resign from the board of Perdue Business Holdings.
In the ethics agreement, Perdue also promised to resign from positions with the National Grain and Feed Association, the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank.
The Senate Agriculture Committee has held off scheduling a confirmation hearing for Perdue pending a background investigation and the completion of critical filings, including the ethics agreement with OGE and a separate OGE filing detailing his assets and income. The committee received his formal nomination late last week from the White House.
A spokeswoman for the panel confirmed that it has received all the necessary paperwork related to Perdue’s nomination and that the paperwork is being reviewed. She said Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., will schedule a hearing when the review is completed.
The Office of Government Ethics requires nominees to report their income from the beginning of 2016 through their filing date, which was Feb. 1, 2017.
Perdue’s largest single source of income, $598,591, came from Perdue Inc., a trucking company that he valued at $1 million to $5 million. Assets are allowed to be reported in ranges.
A logistics business, StarPort Logistics, earned Perdue an additional $99,587.
His most valuable asset, a chain of grain storage facilities known as AGrowStar, earned $15,326 in income over the 13-month period. He valued his interest in the company at $5 million to $25 million.
In addition, he reported receiving interest of between $50,001 and $100,000 on a loan to AGrowStar valued at $500,001 to $1 million. Until the loan is repaid, he said he would not “participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that to my knowledge has a direct and predictable effect” on the company’s ability to repay the debt.
He also made $50,307 in business income from ProAg Products, a grain market trading business worth $50,001 to $100,000, and $28,305 from Houston Fertilizer and Grain Co., an entity worth $1 million to $5 million that manages Perdue commercial real estate.
His other income included:
-Compensation of $30,000 for serving on the Bipartisan Policy Center Governor’s Council, plus a $10,000 honorarium from the organization.
-Some $35,617 in land rent and proceeds from the sale of conservation mitigation bank credits.
-Interest of $15,001 to $50,000 from a loan to one of the existing family trusts.
-A state pension of $326.71 a month for serving in the Georgia legislature.
Perdue reported four liabilities: a personal bank loan of $15,001 to $50,000 and three other loans, with a total value of $1.25 million to $2.5 million, for which he is a partial or full guarantor.
For more news, go to: www.Agri-Pulse.com