Esper to recuse himself from decisions on proposed Raytheon-UTC merger

By Tony Bertuca / July 23, 2019 at 4:37 PM

Mark Esper, whom the Senate confirmed as defense secretary today in an overwhelming, bipartisan 90-8 vote, has sent a letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) pledging to recuse himself from any decisions about a proposed merger between Raytheon, his former employer, and United Technologies.

"Even if the law would allow me to participate in discussions or decision about the proposed merger of Raytheon and United Technologies Corporation, I agree to recuse myself from doing so," Esper wrote in the letter, first reported by Bloomberg News.

Warren questioned Esper's ties to Raytheon during his nomination hearing last week.

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Esper worked as Raytheon's top lobbyist, which Warren said raised ethical concerns. She subsequently voted to oppose his confirmation.

In his July 19 letter to Warren, Esper pledged to continue to abide by all DOD's legal and ethical rules.

As for any future matters involving Raytheon, Esper wrote: "I will continue to ensure that I have a robust screening process in place."