Heather Nauert, President Donald Trump’s previous pick to replace Nikki Haley as United Nations ambassador, has disputed a report by the government watchdog CREW on Wednesday which showed she had reported receiving $167,000 in “salary” from 21st Century Fox while working as a spokesperson for the State Department.
According to Nauert, the filing was a draft version that included a clerical error.
CREW has maintained that at the time of its report, the erroneous filing was the only publicly available version of the document.
“This is false,” Nauert said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “I NEVER received salary from 21st Century Fox while employed by State Dept. This story is based on a preliminary draft with a clerical error.”
Nauert noted that the “FINAL CERTIFIED report, available to anyone,” made it clear she had not received a Fox salary while working for the Trump administration.
Fox News also issued a statement on the matter, telling ThinkProgress, “Heather Nauert was not paid a salary in 2018 or 2019 and left the network in early 2017, which is the last time she was paid.”
The CREW report, which has since been removed from group’s site, claimed Nauert had included the information in her termination financial disclosure report. The payment was listed in Part 2 of the document, which covered the time period between January 1, 2018, and her last day on the job, March 31, 2019.
“Nauert was an anchor and correspondent on Fox News from August 2007 until April 2017, when she joined the State Department as a spokesperson. She reported receiving $167,000 from 21st Century Fox, which she characterized as ‘Salary,’ in Part 2 of her termination report,” CREW noted on Wednesday.
“If Nauert’s termination financial disclosure report is correct,” the report claimed, “the salary payments are problematic because the White House gave her an ethics waiver that authorized her to meet, interview, and communicate with 21st Century Fox employees.” That waiver, signed by former White House counsel Don McGahn, did not allow her to maintain any “continuing relationship” with her former employer outside of communications between herself and the press.
“[She] will not have a continuing relationship with 21st Century Fox. Nor will she have a financial interest in 21st Century Fox,” the waiver read.
CREW explained that the “salary” listed on Nauert’s termination report may have constituted such a “continuing relationship.”
CREW has since responded to Nauert’s comments, stating its decision to remove the blog post about the erroneous filing and noting the draft version cited in the post was the only publicly available one at the time.
“[The post] was written based on publicly available financial disclosure documents certified by Ms. Nauert,” the group stated. “CREW followed up with State to request any revisions or final certifications of the document and State indicated, ‘with respect to Ms. [Nauert], the termination report was her final report.'”
“At the time of publication,” the group added, “there was no other publicly available document. Following publication, Ms. Nauert has made an amended version public. With the information provided in the new version, we have pulled down the post as it no longer reflects the information contained in the newest version of the report.”
Nauert told ThinkProgress Wednesday night that final certified version of the report was released on June 28. “I can’t make these documents public. The government does,” she added.
In its since-deleted blog post, CREW said that it was possible the disclosure was a mistake, although it noted Nauert had listed a similar “salary” from 21st Century Fox in two earlier financial disclosure forms as well, including $160,000 “during calendar year 2017.”
Nauert was originally appointed to the role of State Department spokesperson in April 2017, having previously worked as a host on Fox & Friends, the president’s preferred morning news program. She is one of several Fox News personalities to be hired to work in the Trump administration, alongside former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who served as Trump’s deputy chief of staff for communications, and former Fox News national security contributor K.T. McFarland, who served as deputy national security adviser under Michael Flynn.
Trump selected Nauert to replace Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in December.
“She’s very talented, very smart, very quick, and I think she’s going to be respected by all,” he said at the time.
However, Nauert later withdrew from consideration in February, following reports that she had previously employed a nanny who was not legally allowed to work in the United States. Nauert had mentioned the nanny in her initial paperwork for the U.N. position and stepped down from consideration after it became evident the disclosure would complicate things.
“I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary [Mike] Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations. However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration,” she said at the time.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article cited outdated information first reported by CREW, based on publicly available government documents. It has since been updated to reflect Nauert’s comments, and those of Fox News, as well as the newly public, corrected documents.