by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A former ethics chief in the Obama administration has accused President Joe Biden of thumbing his nose at government ethics with the prevalence of family ties among his administration’s hires.
‘I’m sorry, I know some folks don’t like hearing any criticism of him. But this royally sucks. I’m disgusted,’ tweeted Walter Shaub, who led the Office of Government Ethics from 2013 to 2017.
‘A lot of us worked hard to tee him up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises. This is a a real ‘f*** you’ to us—and government ethics,’ he added.
Shaub was responding from a new report in the Washington Post, which revealed that press secretary Jen Psaki, White House counselor Steve Ricchetti, deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed and presidential personnel office director Cathy Russell each have at least one direct family member working for the Biden administration.
The prevalence of family ties in the new administration is infuriating to some Democrats, who had hoped that Biden would abandon the habits of Donald Trump, who notoriously hired his daughter and son-in-law as top advisors.
‘While it may not be as bad as appointing your son or daughter to a top government post as Trump did with Jared and Ivanka, it is still bad,’ Shaub told the Post. ‘Not as bad as Trump’ cannot be the new standard.’
The scrutiny on hiring practices was triggered in part by the Treasury Department’s announcement on Monday that it was hiring J.J. Ricchetti, son of Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti, leading to accusations of nepotism.
J.J. Ricchetti, a recent college graduate with no other experience listed on his department bio, will be a special assistant to the Treasury’s office of legislative affairs.