U.S. ag secretary nominee submits ethics disclosures

Reuters — U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Agriculture Department said in Senate ethics disclosure forms that he would place his assets, which include part ownership of a grain merchandising company, into a blind trust.

Republican Sonny Perdue was tapped to head the department the day before Trump’s inauguration. Progress on his confirmation has been slow, with media reports suggesting that undoing his various business entanglements caused the delay in the ethics filings.

Representatives for Perdue did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on the delays.

The divestiture plan was disclosed in filings posted online over the weekend by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. Submitting the ethics filings is a key step toward possible confirmation.

Perdue, a former governor of Georgia, also said he would resign his positions from the National Grain and Feed Association, the Bipartisan Policy Center Governor’s Council and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

Perdue has received strong support from agricultural trade groups. The Senate agriculture committee has not yet released a schedule for his confirmation hearings.

Reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago.

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