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Ex-Treasury official didn't appear to file proper paperwork when going to private sector, watchdog

These forms are filled out by employees to make sure there are no conflicts of interest when a government employee leaves to work at a private entity.

Published: March 3, 2024 10:40pm

A government watchdog says a former top Treasury Department official appears to have failed to file mandatory paperwork when leaving for the private sector.

The watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust  said late last week that Natasha Sarin who served as deputy assistant secretary for Economic Policy at the department, then counselor to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen did not appear to file the paperwork, as required under the STOCK Act.

The forms are filled out by employees to make sure there are no conflicts of interest when a government employee leaves and goes to work at a private entity.

Sarin joined the department in 2021 and began talking to Yale University in 2022 about working for the Ivy League school.

Political appointees are required to submit a STOCK Act form within three days of first talking to another entity about employment. 

Documents obtained by Protect the Public's Trust appear to show Sarin talked to the Treasury’s Ethics Office but did not submit the mandatory STOCK Act form.

The documents also show Yale paid about Sarin about $5,500 in travel expenses for two trips to the university. However, the documents state an official verified "no conflict of interest occurred between Yale and [Sarin's] official duties." 

Sarin was reminded by Treasury on Dec. 15, 2022, to fill out the forms because she was leaving eight days later, but there is no indication that she did.

"Hi Natasha, As promised, since you mentioned you are leaving Treasury on Dec. 23, you are required to file a termination   financial disclosure report ... within 30 days of departure," an email to Sarin reads.  

A redacted email dated Sept. 21, 2023, also included in the FOIA response, shows an exchange among Treasury officials that included Brian Sonfield, assistant general counsel for General Law, Ethics & Regulation, about the termination form, but it does not specifically mention Sarin.

The Treasury Department did not responded for comment on the matter.

You can read the documents here: 

Sarin is now an associate professor at Yale Law School and has since been appointment to the Yale School of Management. She is also listed by The Washington Post as a contributing columnist.

“Yet another powerful political appointee for whom an agency just seems unable to produce the required exit documents," said Protect the Public's Trust Director Michael Chamberlain. "Maybe these records blew away. It gets pretty windy when the revolving door is spinning as quickly as it has been

"Filing and accounting for the required paperwork would seem like low bars for the self-described most ethical administration in history. Unfortunately, too often they appear awfully difficult to clear."

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