By Steve Neavling
President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, has found herself in a tough position following the discovery that she was guided through the confirmation process by a private consultant with a conflict of interest.
The consultant and cofounder of Command Group, Thad Bingel, represents companies seeking millions in DHS contracts, the Washington Post reports,  citing government-ethics watchdog groups and current and former national security experts.
Bingel’s firm offers “full spectrum solutions related to safety, security, and intelligence” to clients “on six continents.”
Nielsen was jointed by Bingel as she made rounds on Capitol Hill ahead of the Senate Homeland Security committee’s nomination vote.
“He was introduced to our staff as Nielsen’s aide,” said one Senate staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley denied the relationship amounted to a conflict of interest.
“There’s nothing inappropriate or new about an individual volunteering their time to help prepare a nominee for the Senate confirmation process,” said Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, in a statement.
The Post wrote:
In copies of recent emails viewed by The Washington Post, Bingel was included in internal communications between DHS officials and White House staffers working to advance Nielsen’s nomination. The messages involved nearly a dozen officials, and Bingel was the only person who wasn’t a government staffer.
The exchanges show Bingel, a private contractor, leading briefings to DHS officials. Bingel, whose role in Nielsen’s nomination was first reported by Cyberscoop , did not respond to interview requests.