Mulvaney revealed his decision to start the hedge fund, called Exegis Capital, in an interview on “Street Talk,” a podcast hosted by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
“Politics is going to be a very turbulent thing in the near future, and I think it creates opportunities for those who understand how Washington works to provide an advantage over everyone,” he said on the podcast.
Mulvaney isn’t the first senior administration official to jump into finance after he left – although in Mulvaney’s case, he hasn’t really left. Bill Daley, who was President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, joined a hedge fund after leaving the White House. Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is now chairman of investment firm Warburg Pincus.
Mulvaney will draw on his experience as Director of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget and Acting Head of the Office of Consumer Financial Protection, as well as his time on the House Financial Services Committee while he represented a district of South Carolina in Congress.
“Not many people get it,” Mulvaney said on the podcast. “Not many people understand, okay, this person hired this staff to lead this subcommittee, what’s that going to mean for the kinds of laws you see coming out?”
Mulvaney and Wessel started raising money for the fund “about a month ago,” Wessel said on the podcast.
“We’re really hitting the sidewalk,” he says. “There are a lot of meetings going on after Labor Day when everyone comes back from their vacation.”
They plan to launch the fund on January 1 regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, although Mulvaney has said he still thinks Trump is “a little favorite to win.”
It’s unclear how Mulvaney will split his time between the hedge fund and promoting peace in Northern Ireland.
Special envoys are allowed to hold positions outside of government in certain cases, under the terms of their contracts, according to a former senior State Department official. Mulvaney probably should have consulted State Department ethics experts, the former official said.
Mulvaney “is only partially limited in the professional activities that he can exercise outside the public service”, according to the person familiar with Mulvaney’s situation. “The activity of hedge funds is authorized.”
The State Department did not immediately respond to questions about Mulvaney’s role on Friday. In the past, the ministry refused to disclose Mulvaney’s salary at POLITICO’s request.
Mulvaney and Wessel did not respond to requests for comment.
The State Department is supposed to have ethical guarantees that move a person’s business interests away from their diplomacy. If Mulvaney wanted to set up a hedge fund for Northern Ireland, it would likely raise red flags, according to the former senior State Department official.
A former special envoy who held outside jobs was Kurt Volker, who served as Trump’s special representative in Ukraine while also working as executive director of the McCain Institute at Arizona State University and as a strategic advisor to BGR Group, a Washington-based lobbying and public affairs firm.
Volker did not earn a salary for the role of special envoy. He resigned last year after being caught up in the Democrats’ efforts to impeach Trump.