Walter Shaub, the director of the United States Office of Government Ethics under President Obama, said the Biden administration is sending a “f— you” to ethics experts by hiring so many relatives of senior White House officials.
Press secretary Jen Psaki, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, senior adviser Anita Dunn, White House counselor Steve Richetti, 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.
“I’m sorry, I know some folks don’t like hearing any criticism of him. But this royally sucks. I’m disgusted,” Shaub wrote in a Twitter thread Friday, reacting to an article about the family ties of Biden officials.
“A lot of us worked hard to tee him up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises,” Shaub added, calling the string of family-related hires “a real ‘f*** you’ to us—and government ethics.”
“EVEN THE F-ING HEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL PERSONNEL, WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE KEEPING THEM HONEST, HAS A CHILD WHO’S A RECENT COLLEGE GRAD WORKING IN THE ADMINISTRATION. AND THE SPOUSE OF THE WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD,” Shaub added.
“This is ridiculous. What a f***ing failure.”
“And I don’t love having a milk lobbyist running USDA or a ‘strategic advisor’ (i.e., shadow lobbyist) running the State Department,” Shaub continued. “Or the brother of Biden’s top WH advisor lobbying the Executive Office of the President through a firm the Biden appointee founded.”
The White House defended the hiring practices in a statement on Friday, claiming that Biden has implemented the strictest ethics standards to ever hit the executive branch.
“The president has instituted the highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office,” deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates told The Washington Post. “And he’s proud to have staffed the most diverse administration in American history with well-qualified public servants who reflect his values.”
The White House declined Fox News’ request for comment on Shaub’s characterization of the administration’s hiring practices.
The most recent White House hire with family ties to the administration is J.J. Ricchetti – the son of White House counselor Steve Ricchetti – who joined the Treasury Department as a special assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs.
“It feels like the taxpayers are funding a career-building charity for the Ricchetti family,” Shaub previously told Fox News. “Add to that the fact that you’ve got Ricchetti’s brother lobbying the administration, and this feels like a very special episode of the Partridge Family where they all pile in the van and go visit Washington — only they should call this show the Patronage Family.”
J.J. Ricchetti included a link to a document about supporting the Defund the Police movement and donating to bail funds for protesters in his Instagram bio, though the link was taken down after a comment request to the Treasury Department from Fox News.
Another of Steve Ricchetti’s sons, Daniel Ricchetti, is a senior adviser in the office of the undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, and his daughter Shannon Ricchetti is deputy associate director at the office of the White House social secretary.
Psaki on Friday defended the administration’s decision to appoint her sister, Stephanie Psaki, to a senior adviser role within the Department of Health and Human Services in March.
The press secretary wrote on Twitter that she “can confirm my job over the last 5 months did not retroactively get my brilliant sister a masters degree from Harvard, a PhD in public health from John’s Hopkins and decades of published work and respect in the field.”
“She is more qualified than I am to be here,” Psaki added.
Fox News’ Evie Fordham and Cameron Cawthorne contributed reporting.