Washington, D.C. has long been thought of as a “swamp” of shady dealings, regardless of what party is in charge of the White House and/or Congress at any given time.
The previous president even promised to “drain the swamp,” though his critics would argue he made it swampier than ever.
A close adviser of the current occupant of the White House is now in the spotlight for giving a close relative access to the administration.
According to CNBC, Jeff Ricchetti lobbied the National Security Council (NSC) on behalf of General Motors on “issues related to China.” Ricchetti’s brother, Steve, is a close adviser to president Joe Biden. Jeff Ricchetti was paid $60,000 by GM last quarter for his lobbying work.
The NSC is part of the Executive Office of the President.
It’s headed by the president, and its meetings can be attended by the vice president, the Secretary of State, the Treasury secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of National Intelligence, as well as other senior administration officials.
Jeff Ricchetti has tried to distance his work from that of his brother, who helped work on an infrastructure deal between the White House and lawmakers.
The two founded a company together, and that company, Ricchetti Inc., has not previously lobbied the NSC. Jeff Ricchetti told CNBC he no longer lobbies the White House, though he did not answer when asked about who he spoke with on behalf of GM. Nor did he answer when asked to provide specifics on what issues related to China he was lobbying about.
GM gave CNBC this statement: “Jeff Ricchetti among other lobbyists that are registered to advocate on our behalf help GM to advocate for policies that support our customers, dealers and employees, help strengthen our manufacturing presence in the United States and advance our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”
GM had previously lobbied the Trump administration to remove tariffs on the China-built Buick Envision, though it claims Ricchetti himself did not discuss tariffs with the NSC. The request to remove tariffs from the Envision was denied.
The Biden administration has continued many of the Trump-era China trade policies.
Steve Ricchetti’s son has a job in the Biden administration, and Jeff has also lobbied on behalf of healthcare companies. CNBC also reported that Steve Ricchetti had recused himself from anything relating to his brother.
Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, libertarians and Greens — I think most can agree on one thing: The swamp has not, and likely never will be, drained.
[Image: Yaya Ernst/Shutterstock.com]