A watchdog organization, named Protect The Public Trust, said Wednesday that Biden’s administration exempted senior officials from federal ethics standards at a substantially higher rate than his predecessor.
Officials cannot engage in business with previous employers for a year after taking office; although this rule can be waived if the federal government’s objectives exceed any ethical problems.
Biden’s Exemptions Exceeds Trump’s
According to the analysis by Protect the Public’s Trust, Biden’s administration issued at least 50 such exemptions during his first 14 months in office, compared to the 73 given by the Trump administration over the first 32 months.
At its current rate, the Biden administration will greatly outweigh the Trump administration in terms of exemptions and decisions, according to Michael Chamberlain, PPT Director.
“More people making choices that touch the American public are getting free passes on their moral obligations.”
According to Chamberlain’s group’s tracker, at least 19 ethical exemptions issued to Biden by federal authorities have not been made public.
Many federal agencies have not supplied the waivers directly, due to PPT’s Freedom of Information Act requests.
A document called the Certification of Ethics Agreement Compliance said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm could do things which could affect CNN and the University of California.
Still, she didn’t say what those things were.
Biden on his Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm:
"She was the former governor of a state of, uh…Michigan. Michigan? Wrong. She was the former state of—she was a governor." pic.twitter.com/f0cDY6uPJr
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 15, 2022
During her tenure, Granholm has faced various ethical charges.
In May, the energy secretary was criticized for profiting $1.6 million from selling her shares in Proterra, an electric car firm. A month earlier, Biden endorsed Proterra during a virtual tour of its South Carolina manufacturing site.
Granholm recently promoted electric automobiles, which cost an average of $56,000, as an alternative to rising gasoline prices.
Granholm was too preoccupied with global warming and the “effects of catastrophic weather occurrences” to worry about ethics, an Energy Department spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon in February.
Secret Ethics Waivers
According to PPT’s waiver tracker, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also has a hidden waiver.
Buttigieg said in his Certification of Ethics Compliance Tracker that he was authorized to be involved in activities regarding iHeartMedia + Entertainment, Inc.
Finally, Someone's Calling Him Out: CNBC Host Confronts Pete Buttigieg On Supply Chain Snags pic.twitter.com/Zy6v79DTJE
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 15, 2022
Chamberlain said his group sued HHS to reveal Secretary Xavier Becerra’s hidden ethics waiver and three other HHS officials’ available exemptions. Chamberlain said more lawsuits are coming.
Others have excused the Biden administration for granting exemptions to top officials.
Former OGE Director Walter Shaub told Government Executive in May, “not all ethical exemptions are harmful,” adding many Biden administration waivers go to personnel who used to work for for-profit corporations.
However, several of Biden’s ethics exemptions have received bipartisan condemnation.
In February, the Project on Government Oversight asked the Biden administration to remove US Digital Service Administrator Mina Hsiang from her job.
This is because she had been allowed to keep and profit from major investments in digital firms, which raised serious concerns about a conflict of interest.
The amount of Hsiang’s waiver concerned Shaub, who claimed it “actually puts them beyond the law.” From the looks of it, corruption and incompetence are going to be unanimous within this administration.