An ethics watchdog group updated its ethics waiver tracker Thursday to include political appointees to the Office of the Vice President, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Agency for International Development to make sure federal appointees reflect President Joe Biden’s ethics pledge to appoint only qualified individuals to federal offices.
The watchdog, Protect the Public's Trust, tracks waivers on ethics policies that are designed to prevent public officials from using their positions of public trust for private gain. The government sometimes gives waivers to appointees of federal offices to allow the individuals to work on matters that may otherwise be deemed a conflict of interest, such as issues involving former employers or employees.
"Waivers can help to ensure that the American public benefits from having the most highly-qualified people serving in the Federal government," Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust said in a statement Thursday. "But the circumstances and justifications for waivers can also raise eyebrows … We at PPT will continue to shine a light on ethics waivers and their justifications."
The group highlighted three waivers that recently were issued. They are listed as follows.
Kristine Lucius served as Vice President Kamala Harris’ Chief of Staff in the Senate. She is now Legislative Director in the Office of the Vice President.
The second is David Cohen, the Deputy Director of the CIA, who previously served in the same role during the Obama Administration.
The third is Gabriela Chojkier, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs in the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, who also served in the Obama White House. She was granted a waiver involving her work as a consultant in a private company called VIM Global.