Rex Tillerman has a clear conflict of interest. He is nominated as Secretary of State while benefiting from a business relationship with Russia. He should be forced to divest his shares of Exxon and ensure that he will not personally enrich himself from the relationship with Russia or any other foreign power.
The potential conflicts of interest here are considerable: Tillerson himself owns $218 million in Exxon stock and a pension reportedly worth $70 million, though it’s not clear what he’ll do with those investments once he joins the Trump administration. What we do know is that Tillerson could soon find himself in a position of influence over the sanctions question — and that lifting them could prove a major boon to Exxon. It’s conceivable Tillerson could stay impartial and judge the issue purely on its policy merits, but this conflict will be looming in the background.
The nomination of Rex Tillerman and his relationship with Russia seem like a conflict of interest. Tillerman may not be the best candidate for secretary of state, because of his past ties to Russia. We want a secretary of state that will always act out of the best interest of the United States.
No, the nomination of Rex Tillerman and his relationship with Russia is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Tillerman's relationships were developed during his business tenure. If he breaks all ties with his previous business dealings, then there is no conflict of interest. While highly questionable, Tillerman's relationships with Putin and other Russians may prove to be valuable.