WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) have called on President Donald Trump to withdraw his nomination of Todd Ricketts to serve as Deputy Secretary of Commerce, saying that Ricketts’ “actions to date suggest he is unfit to be confirmed.”
In calling for the nomination to be withdrawn, the senators cited Ricketts’ failure to respond to their inquires into his reported heavy involvement with a Super PAC and associated dark money group that have spent millions on behalf of President Trump’s nominees, including a recent advertisement supporting Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed as Supreme Court Justice. The senators also sent a copy of their letter to Ricketts himself.
As the senators have noted and has been widely reported, Ricketts plays a leadership role in both the Super PAC Future45 and its dark money counterpart, the 45Committee, the group behind millions of dollars in spending for pro-Trump ads in several states. Most recently, the group funded an ad supporting Neil Gorsuch in his highly publicized and controversial confirmation battle before the Senate.
However, Ricketts did not acknowledge his involvement with these groups in his questionnaire submitted to the Commerce Committee. In February, the senators wrote to Ricketts requesting information about his role in the partisan Super PAC and its dark money counterpart, but Ricketts has not responded.
The senators wrote that Ricketts’ reported involvement in highly partisan political fundraising activities – as well as his failure to disclose or respond to the senators’ inquiries about these activities – raises serious questions about potential conflicts of interest and his ability to be a fair and honest Deputy Secretary of Commerce for all Americans.
“After you submitted Mr. Ricketts’ nomination to the Senate on November 30, 2016, he provided a questionnaire to the Senate Commerce Committee that may include incomplete, misleading or false statements,” the senators wrote to President Trump. “In particular, he did not disclose involvement with a variety of political organizations to which he has been frequently publicly linked. These organizations were not only active during the Presidential campaign, but have continued to raise and spend money on political advertising in support of your Cabinet nominees, and the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Gorsuch.”
“We wrote Mr. Ricketts on February 7, 2017, to request more information about his involvement in political organizations he did not disclose to the Senate Commerce Committee,” the senators continued. “This information is necessary for us to be able to evaluate any conflicts of interest Mr. Ricketts may have and whether he should recuse himself from particular matters that may come before him as Deputy Secretary. Mr. Ricketts has never responded to this letter, nearly two months later, raising serious questions about whether he sought to mislead the Senate Commerce Committee, his competency for the position and if he could put the public interest first at the Department of Commerce.”