Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden has already caused infighting among the left by ignoring progressive demands and appointing former lobbyists to his senior staff.
Biden has announced last week he would appoint Ronald Klain as his chief of staff, then named Steve Ricchetti counselor to the president Tuesday, Fox News reported.
Klain and Ricchetti both previously spent time in the lobbying industry.
In between the two announcements, over 50 liberal advocacy organizations signed a letter urging Biden to keep anyone with ties to the corporate world from serving in the high levels of his administration.
“We urge you to build out an administration that is structured so as to be able to meet the historic needs of this moment — and to uphold the highest values of the Democratic Party by operating in service of the wellbeing of the general public,” the Nov. 12 letter read.
“In particular, we urge you to decline to nominate or hire corporate executives, lobbyists, and prominent corporate consultants to serve in high office.”
Klain and Ricchetti were tapped for their positions despite Biden’s transition plan banning anyone who registered as a lobbyist or foreign agent within the last year from serving, according to Fox News.
Rep. Cedric Richmond has also been picked to serve as senior adviser in the White House Office of Public Engagement. The Louisiana Democrat was one of the top recipients of fossil fuel money this election cycle, raking in $113,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas sector, Fox reported.
Ricchetti co-owned the lobbying firm Ricchetti Inc. with his brother Jeffrey Ricchetti for over 10 years. The firm has worked with pharmaceutical companies Eli Lily, Novartis and Pfizer.
He also served as Biden’s chief of staff when Biden was vice president, CBS News reported.
Klain — who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations — was a lobbyist for K Street firm O’Melveny and Myers.
He represented Fannie Mae, a mortgage giant that used taxpayer money to buy up subprime mortgages, as well as drugmaker ImClone during the company’s congressional inquiry of its selective offering of “compassionate use” of certain drugs.
Progressive organization Justice Democrats slammed Biden’s “corporate-friendly appointments” in a statement Tuesday.
“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,” executive director Alexandra Rojas said.
“A Biden administration dominated by corporate-friendly insiders like Steve Ricchetti and Cedric Richmond will not help the President-elect usher in the most progressive Democratic administration in generations.”
A Joe Biden administration dominated by corporate-friendly insiders will not help usher in the most progressive Democratic administration in generations.
This move gives greater urgency for Joe Biden to create an Office of Climate Mobilization on Day 1 and appoint progressives. pic.twitter.com/xkSszuza1q
— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) November 17, 2020
Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama both had policies against hiring lobbyists for their administrations but made some exceptions, Fox reported.
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