Biden admin pressures career officials to approve appointee ethics waivers: watchdog report
- August 29, 2022
The Biden administration is on track to surpass the number of ethics waivers granted by the Trump White House
Madeleine Hubbard, Just the News
At least 65 ethics waivers have been issued to administration officials during President Joe Biden’s first 18 months in office, putting “significant pressure” on career executive branch ethics officials to approve waivers for activists-turned-appointees, according to a watchdog report from Protect the Public’s Trust.
Most ethics waivers are granted by career ethics officials. Protect the Public’s Trust stated in its report Thursday that “the Biden Administration has often forced these career officials into difficult situations by loading up important positions with activists and lobbyists whose potential conflicts and covered relationships make it nearly impossible to function in their roles without a waiver.”
For example, a Freedom of Information Act request showed that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration head Dr. Steven Cliff received a waiver to participate in matters involving not only his former employer, the California Air Resources Board, but also on issues he was greatly involved in during his time working there. Officials justified his waiver because denying it would “substantially limit” the federal departments from pursuing the White House’s agenda.
The watchdog said waivers for activists in the administration are “the rule, not the exception,” and alleged, “More likely they were appointed because of their past activism, knowing that waivers would be required for them to perform their roles.”