President Joe Biden’s Department of Education is being sued by a federal watchdog for not providing records that could indicate whether senior government officials have potential conflicts of interest
According to The Daily Caller:
The Department of Education “is wrongfully withholding non-exempt agency records” related to ethics laws and waivers granted to political appointees, Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) argued in a lawsuit filed last Friday. The group submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the department in June 2021 seeking records dating back to November 23, 2020 but no documents have been provided.
“The Department of Education has certainly earned a failing grade for their response to this Freedom of Information Act request,” Michael Chamberlain, director of PPT, told TheDCNF. “With the outsized influence that teachers’ unions, for example, have been able to exert on federal agencies and the fact that several high-ranking ED officials have connections to them, it is vital for the American public to know about any waivers that political appointees have received.”
Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office banning appointees from accepting lobbyists’ gifts and requiring them to wait two years after leaving government to communicate with senior White House staff or federal agencies. Appointees who sign the pledge must affirm they will make choices in the public interest “without regard to private gain or personal benefit” and conduct themselves ethically in post-government employment so as to not make it seem they are using “government service for private gain,” according to the order.
PPT has sent public records requests to 19 government agencies for documents related to the Biden ethics pledge, the group said in a March report. Some Biden administration appointees have been given ethics waivers, a practice that has occurred in prior administrations, which allows officials to participate in certain activities that they otherwise would not be allowed.
Biden has given out more than 60 waivers so far in his presidency.