Soon after becoming president, Joe Biden promised that no member of his family would be involved in the federal government. It was an easy promise for Biden to make considering all the money his son and brother had already made off of Joe’s name and office in the private sector.
You can’t get rich in the federal government like you can peddling influence in countries like Ukraine and China. Still, the federal government isn’t a bad place in which to make a buck and enhance a resume. Thus, senior members of the Biden administration are finding places in government for their children, spouses, and siblings.
The Washington Post has the details. They include the following:
The Treasury Department has hired J.J. Ricchetti, son of Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti, as a special assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs. J.J. is a 2020 college graduate.
Steve Ricchetti’s daughter Shannon Ricchetti, who graduated from college in 2016, is deputy associate director of the office of the White House social secretary.
Steve Ricchetti’s son Daniel Ricchetti is a senior adviser in the office of the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
Julia Reed, the daughter of a deputy White House chief of staff and longtime Biden confidant Bruce Reed, is Joe Biden’s day scheduler.
Sarah Donilon, daughter of Cathy Russell the director of presidential personnel in the White House, works on the White House National Security Council. Ms. Donilon is also the niece of senior adviser to Biden Mike Donilon. She graduated from college in 2019.
Stephanie Psaki, sister of White House press secretary Jen, was appointed senior adviser at the Health and Human Services Department in March.
Ron Klain’s wife, Monica Medina, has been nominated for an assistant secretary of state job.
Jake Sullivan’s wife, Maggie Goodlander, is counsel to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Sullivan’s brother, Tom Sullivan, is a State Department official and Tom Sullivan’s wife, Rose Sullivan, is an official at the Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, Evan Ryan, the wife of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is White House Cabinet secretary.
The White House claims that all of these family members are qualified for the positions in question. This may be true. In some cases, it clearly is. But that doesn’t mean they were the best qualified candidates.
According to the Post, ethics experts are alarmed by nepotism in the Biden administration. Understating the obvious, they say it suggests that people with ties to high-ranking public servants might be getting an advantage over similarly qualified people for lower-ranking positions, which often serve as a foot in the door to a career in government and politics.
The Post’s report contains the obligatory “Trump was worse” claim. But the Post fails to sustain that claim.
The Post cites the fact that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were senior advisers at the White House. But they were unpaid, as the Post acknowledges.
Presidents are always going to take advice from trusted family members whether they have titles, as Ivanka and Jared did, or not. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as taxpayers aren’t paying the family members.
It’s true, as the Post says, that some family members of Trump administration officials served in paid positions. But the Post doesn’t claim, much less show, that this practice was as widespread then as it is in the Biden administration.
In any case, whatever nepotism existed under Trump provides no excuse for the nepotism Joe Biden permits in his administration.
No one should be surprised by that nepotism. Joe Biden is an old-fashioned pol. Having enriched his family, he now is letting key associates feed their families, albeit at a less lucrative trough.