Carl Icahn is denying allegations by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen that he is acting as an unregistered lobbyist.
In an op-ed in The Hill, Icahn said the group was on a “witch hunt” when it filed a complaint with both the Senate and the House accusing him of violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act in his advocacy in the White House for changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“Public Citizen’s assertion that I should be required to register as a lobbyist is another gross misstatement of the facts which is similar to much of the ‘fake news’ that is unfortunately so prevalent today,” Icahn wrote. “I have vetted my activities with a number of lawyers and it is clear that no registration is required.”
Icahn has called for an investigation to “uncover the dark forces behind this witch hunt,” which may be financed by opponents of the administration or supporters of the RFS.
Icahn is the majority owner of the refiner CVR, and he has been calling for changes to the RFS that would shift the compliance obligation away from CVR and other merchant refiners. Public Citizen’s complaint alleges that Icahn’s pursuit of the change without registering as a lobbyist should be investigated.
Public Citizen fired back late Wednesday. “The fact that Carl Icahn continues to believe that there’s nothing wrong with his inherent conflict of interest is stunning,” Public Citizen energy director Tyson Slocum said in a statement. He added: “It is wildly inappropriate for someone with a significant vested interest in the repeal of a regulation to be appointed as an adviser to the president and then to offer advice on the fate of that regulation.”