Bannon Gets Approval to Sell Holdings in Data and Film Companies

  • Federal ethics office said Bannon can defer taxes on sales
  • Both companies worked for super-PAC funded by Robert Mercer

Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, received approval to sell holdings in Cambridge Analytica LLC and Glittering Steel LLC, two companies employed by a pro-Trump group largely funded by Republican mega-donor Robert Mercer.

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics, in an April 12 document released by the agency on Tuesday, approved the sales and said Bannon could defer capital gains taxes on the investments. Bannon needed the OGE’s approval, called a certificate of divestiture, before he could sell the holdings.

The former executive chairman of Breitbart News, Bannon was widely credited as a key architect of Trump’s surprising victory after joining his campaign as CEO in August. In an April 11 interview with the New York Post, Trump downplayed Bannon’s significance to the victory, and earlier this month removed him from the National Security Council.

Related: Is Trump Backer Robert Mercer a Billionaire? I Tried to Find Out

Bannon listed his stake in Cambridge Analytica, a data mining and analysis firm, at between $1 million and $5 million, and his holdings in Glittering Steel at $100,000 to $250,000, according to his financial disclosure form, which reports the value of assets in broad ranges.

Both firms also employed Bannon, his financial disclosure showed. He served as vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica from June 2014 through August 2016, and disclosed $125,333 in consulting fees from the firm.

Glittering Steel, a production company that Bannon chaired, paid him $167,500 for consulting and director fees. The company’s best known work was Clinton Cash, a film version of the 2015 book by Peter Schweizer that alleged Hillary Clinton, while U.S. secretary of state, facilitated government favors for donors to the Clinton Foundation.

The Trump campaign and Make America Number 1, the Mercer-funded super political action committee that supported Trump, both used the services of Cambridge Analytica, according to Federal Election Commission records. Glittering Steel only worked for the super-PAC, the filings show.

In a complaint to the FEC filed in October, the Campaign Legal Center alleged that the super-PAC illegally subsidized Bannon’s work with the Trump campaign by making payments to both firms after he had joined Trump. The FEC hasn’t publicly said whether it’s acting on the complaint.

The OGE document doesn’t specify whether Bannon has already sold his interests in the two firms, or when he will in the future. Within 30 days of making a sale, Bannon is required to report how much he received, within a broad range.

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