Education Department official hit with ethics complaint for close ties to teachers union
- December 1, 2022
Jeremiah Poff, Washington Examiner
A senior Education Department official who previously worked for the National Education Association was hit with an ethics complaint on Thursday surrounding her ongoing relationship with the nation’s largest teachers union.
Protect the Public’s Trust, a government ethics watchdog, filed the complaint Thursday against Education Department deputy chief of staff Donna Harris-Aikens, alleging that she had improperly coordinated and communicated with the NEA, where she had previously been employed.
“Almost from the moment she joined the Department, Ms. Harris-Aikens appears to have systematically violated the ethical obligations under the Biden Administration Ethics Pledge and applicable federal ethics regulations through her interactions with her previous employer, the NEA,” the complaint letter to Education Department Inspector General Sandra Bruce says. “The frequency, depth, and tone of Ms. Harris- Aikens coordination with the NEA makes it worryingly unclear whether her role representing the NEA’s interests truly ended when she joined the ED.”
“It appears the CDC and Department of Ed were so eager to bow to the teachers unions’ wishes to keep schools closed last year that they ignored ethics laws and the Biden Administration’s own ethics pledge to do so,” Chamberlain said. “Sadly, many parents won’t be surprised. At a time when the academic health as well as the psychological and social-emotional well-being of students were relegated to the backseat, dedication to ethics obligations was evidently stuffed in the trunk.”