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Donald Trump

Trump taps Eli Miller as acting US Asian Development Bank director

Miller, who worked on campaigns of Republican presidential candidates Romney and Rubio, will hold the United States’ top ADB post until it is officially filled

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 May, 2017, 1:40am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 May, 2017, 10:55pm

US President Donald Trump will designate his top campaign finance official as an interim United States director of the Asian Development Bank, making an opponent of environmental regulation the US’s voice in an organisation that funds clean energy projects.

Eli H. Miller worked for the campaigns of two former Republican presidential candidates – Mitt Romney, who ran as the party’s nominee against former US President Barack Obama in 2012, and Marco Rubio, who ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries – and currently serves as chief of staff at the US Department of the Treasury.

A Republican Party stalwart, Miller lobbied against higher taxes, Obama’s healthcare reform legislation (also known as Obamacare), and restrictions on the use of coal in US power plants in positions previously held at conservative political advocacy group Americans For Prosperity.

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Americans for Prosperity, funded by billionaire philanthropist brothers David H. Koch and Charles Koch, has fought against all legislation that restricts the burning of fossil fuels and earmarking of government revenues for any initiatives aimed at fighting climate change.

Miller worked for the advocacy group as a senior regional development officer and as Ohio state director between May 2013 and June 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile.

That position on environmental issues may clash with ADB objectives.

“ADB plays an important role in leading the region to a green growth path through financing and innovative technologies,” the development body says on its website. “From 2011 to 2015, ADB approved over (US)$15.5 billion of climate financing. ADB’s own resources provided $13.5 billion while external resources contributed over $2.0 billion.”

As a non-regional member, the US has contributed (US)$22.27 billion to ADB in capital subscription as of 31 December 2016, and (US) $4.65 billion directly to ADB projects since joining in 1966, according to data on the organisation’s website.

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With a 15.6 per cent share each in the ADB’s Board of Governors, the US and Japan are the regional lending body’s two largest shareholders among 67.

An official at the US Department of State didn’t respond to an email asking whether Miller’s past positions on environmental issues would indicate his strategy in ADB decisions.

Miller will hold the US’ top ADB position until it is “filled by appointment or subsequent designation,” according to a White House statement.

Trump also designated Miller as acting United States Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, according to the White House statement.