House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.), facing increasing questions about his finances, is considering placing his holdings in a blind trust, an aide said yesterday.
Marshall L. Lynam, Wright's administrative assistant, said that the speaker had considered setting up a blind trust for some time but that the idea was now under "active" consideration.
"A blind trust might get rid of some of these distractions," Lynam said of recent news reports about Wright's finances. "He is wholly immersed in his work in Congress and he doesn't need these distractions that rear up from time to time."
Wright of Fort Worth has been the focus of stories about his business dealings with Fort Worth printer Carlos Moore, who published one of Wright's books, and his partnership with Fort Worth developer George A. Mallick in an investment firm called Mallightco. Wright and his wife, Betty, formed the company with Mallick and his wife in 1979. The advantage of placing his holdings in a blind trust, one Wright adviser said, is that it would remove the appearance of any conflict of interest and relieve the speaker of having to deal with his financial affairs while representing the public.
Mallick until recently was involved in efforts to redevelop the Fort Worth Stockyards, for which Wright has written $30 million into federal appropriations bills in the last two years. Mallick and others planned to borrow nearly $12 million of that to help finance the redevelopment plan, but Mallick dropped out of the project when he could not find investors to put up an additional $100 million in private funds.
Wright has not disclosed details of Mallightco's holdings, though House rules require disclosure of investments in privately held companies. However, his office announced yesterday that he would file an amended financial disclosure form to include more information about Mallightco.