President-elect Joe Biden is already ignoring progressive demands by adding former lobbyists to his roster of senior staff.
Verlede week, meer as 50 liberal advocacy organizations and more than a dozens liberal House members signed a letter urging Biden to bar anyone with ties to the corporate world from serving in his administration.
“We urge you to decline to nominate or hire corporate executives, lobbyists, and prominent corporate consultants to serve in high office,” the letter demanded. It said that such people are incapable of “working in the service of the general welfare.”
Biden’s transition plan bans anyone who registered as a lobbyist or as foreign agent within the last year from serving.
But Biden’s chief of staff pick, Ronald Klain, and Steve Ricchetti, his campaign chair who was named counselor to the president on Tuesday, both did time in the lobbying industry.
Progressive PAC Justice Democrats slammed Biden’s “corporate-friendly appointments” of Ricchetti and Rep. Cedric Richmond, one of the top recipients of fossil fuel money. Richmond will serve as senior adviser in the White House Office of Public Engagement.
“If Joe Biden continues making corporate-friendly appointments to his White House, he will risk quickly fracturing the hard-earned goodwill his team built with progressives to defeat Donald Trump,” the group said in a statement.
Richmond, D-La., earned $ 113,000 in campaign donations this cycle from the oil and gas sector, more than from any other sector.
Ricchetti co-owned a lobbying firm with his brother Jeffrey Ricchetti for more than a decade. Their firm, Ricchetti, Inc., worked with pharmaceutical companies Eli Lily, Novartis and Pfizer.
Klein, in between serving in the Clinton and Obama White Houses, was a lobbyist for K Street firm O’Melveny and Myers. His clients included Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant who used taxpayer money to buy up subprime mortgages and fought off stricter regulations from lawmakers with the help of O’Melveny and Myers.
Klain’s team also represented drugmaker ImClone when the company faced a congressional inquiry into the life-or-death consequences of its selective offering “compassionate use” of drugs that had not yet been approved. ImClone president When faced by relatives of two cancer patients who had died after trying to get ImClone to offer them compassionate use supplies, Samuel Waksal admitted that the company had only granted 30 compassionate use supplies out of 10,000 versoeke.
Ten days after the hearing, O’Melveny cut ties with ImClone, earning $ 40,000 for representing the company for two weeks, volgens a Politico verslag doen.
Klain also lobbied on behalf of the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution for an asbestos industry bailout package and on behalf of AOL Time Warner.
Tans, ten minste 40 people of the 500 plus people serving on the president-elect’s transition team have a background in lobbying. Five people on the teams are currently registered lobbyists or have been within the last year, volgens a Wall Street Journal verslag doen.
Both Presidents Trump and Obama had policies against hiring lobbyists, but both made exceptions to their own rules.
Biden has pushed for policies that he says would reduce the influence of lobbies and special interests, including expanding public funding for campaigns.
His campaign platform includes legislation that would require lawmakers to publicly disclose meetings or communications with lobbyists or special interests trying to influence the passage or defeat of a bill.
For all Trump’s calls to “drain the swamp,” in 2019, The Associated Press reported that the president had named more ex-lobbyists to cabinet-level posts than Obama and President Bush did in their eight years in office.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia all were formerly lobbyists. Chief of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler formerly lobbied on behalf of the coal industry.