Obama-era government ethics chief Walter Shaub has harshly criticised the Biden administration, accusing it of nepotism. "The jobs went to privileged kiddos with mommies & daddies who cozied up to POTUS. Nepotism is illegal", Shaub wrote in his post on Twitter.
His statements follow this week's report by The Washington Post, saying that relatives of senior aides have been employed by the administration. According to the newspaper, four children of Biden's most trusted aide Steve Ricchetti work in the government.
Daniel Ricchetti is a senior adviser in the office of the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. His daughter Shannon Ricchetti is deputy associate director of the office of the White House social secretary, while Tyler Ricchetti has worked for two years as an aide to Debbie Dengell. The last person to join the government's ranks is JJ Ricchetti, who was hired last week by the Treasury Department.
Eight more relatives of government officials received jobs in the Biden administration, The Washington Post writes.
Although President Biden himself has kept his promise not to employ any relatives of his family, the newspaper's report is a "disappointment" ethics experts say.
Mark Hanis, co-founder of a non-profit organisation called Inclusive America, said WaPo's report reflects the bigger problem of how government appointments are made.
"All political appointees should be hired similar to the way the rest of the world is hired, where it is posted, competitive, and transparent. Unfortunately, with a lot of these political positions, it is relational. It's more about who you know", he said.
Walter Schaub, accused Joe Biden of breaking promises and described the Democrat's fight against nepotism as a "f**king failure".
"Even the f-ing head of presidential personnel, who is suppose to be keeping them honest, has a child who's a recent college grad working in the administration. A lot of us worked hard to tee [Biden] up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises. This is a real 'f**k you' to us—and government ethics. When little problems like this, which are so damn easy to avoid, crop up, it's a sign of much bigger rot. Because if you can't even do the easy things, you sure as hell can't do the hard things", Schaub wrote on Twitter.
The official, who was appointed ethics chief by former President Barack Obama in 2013 and resigned in 2017 after clashing with Donald Trump, lamented that Democratic supporters were reluctant to condemn the Biden administration and instead criticised him.
... Let me get this straight -— Leia (@TheSWPrincess) June 18, 2021
You & WaPo are trying to make a case for nepotism out of the Biden Admin hiring well-qualified people, not related to Biden, while following the correct processes?
You're really bitter about not being hired by this admin, aren't you?
Here’s something to help you.— D Singh (@DSingh4Biden) June 18, 2021
Joe Biden’s living children are Hunter and Ashely. Melissa and Howard are their spouses.
None of them have jobs in the admin.
Does this help?
The Biden administration has brushed off accusations of nepotism. Commenting on the WaPo story, White House press secretary Andrew Bates said that everyone mentioned in the article is well qualified for their positions.
"The president has instituted the highest ethical standards of anyone to ever hold this office. And he's proud to have staffed the most diverse administration in American history with well-qualified public servants who reflect his values", Bates said.