Watchdog group wants probe into Psaki doing White House job while reportedly looking for media gig

Watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust argues Psaki also violating her personal ethics code by not being transparent

Updated: April 19, 2022 - 3:03pm

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A federal watchdog group is calling for an investigation into possible ethics violations by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, saying she appears not to be following federal requirements for negotiation to leave her Biden administration job for a private-sector one in the news media industry.

The call for a probe was made Monday by the group Protect the Public's Trust. 

The group said that despite the reporting and recusal requirements for federal employees while negotiations for outside employment, as well as Psaki's own statements regarding those obligations, she "does not appear to have altered her behavior with respect to either her prospective employer or its competitors."

The group also says Psaki's statements and actions amid widespread media reports about a departure, appear inconsistent with her own promise to set "an example of engagement and transparency."

Early news reports said Psaki is headed to cable news network MSNBC. 

Protect the Public's Trust President Michael Chamberlain told Just the News on Tuesday his group is calling upon the White House Counsel, the Office of Government Ethics and the Justice Department's Public Integrity section to look into the matter.

"We're asking all of them to consider investigations because we believe that there is a basis for any of those entities to conduct one based on their jurisdiction and the possible violations highlighted in our complaint," he said.

The group has also focused on Psaki's comments Thursday on a podcast that it says disparaged Fox News, a MSNBC competitor.

When asked about Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, she said, "He works for a network that provides people with questions that, nothing personal to any individual including Peter Doocy, but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b***h."

The group also argues: "These actions could create a potential conflict of interest or the perception of a possible conflict of interest in the eyes of the American public.

"In keeping with the administration’s promises, expressed by Ms. Psaki in her role as White House press secretary, to be both the most ethical and most transparent in history, PPT requests an investigation into whether Ms. Psaki misused her position and created the appearance of an impermissible conflict of interest as well as for the release of records relating to Ms. Psaki’s recusals and negotiations for future non-federal employment."