Merrick Garland Reports Shares in Procter & Gamble, Pfizer

President Joe Biden’s pick for attorney general, Merrick Garland, reported holding shares in companies including Procter & Gamble Co. and vaccine manufacturer Pfizer Inc.

Garland, who hasn’t been scheduled for a confirmation hearing, reported that he held between $250,001 and $500,000 in Procter & Gamble shares, as much as $250,000 in cereal maker General Mills Inc. and as much as $50,000 in Pfizer, according to documents provided to the Office of Government Ethics.

The judge also reported holdings of more than $2.3 million in funds and accounts managed by Fidelity Investments. Those funds contain the kind of widely diversified assets or treasury bills that are not considered to cause potential conflicts of interest.

He disclosed at least $3.2 million in other funds that don’t pose conflicts that are managed by other companies including Vanguard Group and Invesco Ltd. Officials list the values of their holdings in broad ranges.

A Jan. 29 letter to the Office of Government Ethics from Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus said that Garland would “divest his interests” in the three companies and three others within 90 days if he is confirmed. Until then, he would recuse himself from any actions involving those companies.

In the letter, he also said he would divest his holdings in two bonds within the same time frame, recusing himself from any matter that could impact their marketability or resale value.

Garland, who never received a Senate confirmation hearing when President Barack Obama nominated him for a seat on the Supreme Court, has been filing financial disclosures annually for more than two decades. He was nominated to the federal court by President Bill Clinton and confirmed in 1997.

Former Attorney General Bill Barr joined the Justice Department from Kirkland & Ellis, which represented several high profile clients who were subject to investigations.

Barr recused from some but not all matters involving his former law firm. He removed himself from the department’s criminal investigation into Boeing Co. in the wake of two crashes that killed 346 people. Barr, however, received an ethics waiver allowing him to oversee the corruption and fraud investigation involving Malaysia’s investment fund 1MDB. In that matter, Kirkland & Ellis represented Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Separately, Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and the incoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement on Monday that he had asked the outgoing chairman, Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, to hold a confirmation hearing for Garland on Feb. 8.

“This timing would comport with Republican requests that the hearing not take place during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump and would give committee members ample time to review Judge Garland’s record – much of which has been available since 2016 when he was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court,” Durbin said in his latter to Graham.

Senate Republicans, who controlled the chamber in 2016, refused to consider Garland’s nomination.

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