Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was involved in some shady business before being named by President Donald Trump to lead the Justice Department on an interim basis earlier this week.
On Thursday, it was reported that federal investigators last year sought information from a top member of Miami-based company World Patent Marketing’s advisory board, and that this person was Whitaker (a former U.S. attorney in Iowa). Whitaker joined the company’s board in 2014, not long after unsuccessfully running a campaign for U.S. Senator in Iowa.
The Federal Trade Commission then subpoenaed Whitaker’s law firm and filed a complaint against World Patent Marketing, whom it accused of deceiving clients and investors and other fraudulent practices. Court filings revealed that the firm falsely promised investors they would reap profits from their inventions.
“As a former U.S. Attorney, I would only align myself with a first class organization,” Whitaker said in a 2014 company news release. “World Patent Marketing goes beyond making statements about doing business ‘ethically’ and translate those words into action.”
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In May, a federal court in Florida ordered World Patent Marketing to pay a settlement worth more than $25 million and to end its operations. The firm neither confirmed nor denied any of the accusations leveled against it.
World Patent Marketing also donated $2,600 to Whitaker’s 2014 Senate campaign, according to The Washington Post.
Whitaker has also drawn controversy and criticism from many Democrats for saying he wishes to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation by reducing his budget.