The Biden administration touted tight ethics rules for officials, but the president has since waived rules for several lobbyists-turned-officials — including a former union official who now works for the agency that oversees the federal workforce and an immigration official who previously lobbied for Amnesty International, records show.
Soon after Biden was inaugurated, he signed strict ethics restrictions intended to curtail the revolving door between special interests and government jobs. The administration’s rules ban incoming officials from receiving compensation from their previous employers for snagging a job in government, sometimes called “golden parachutes,” among other new restrictions.
Since then, however, the presence of former lobbyists and “shadow lobbyists,” or individuals in corporate positions who work to affect public policy but are not required to formally register as lobbyists, has raised eyebrows, even among left-leaning groups. Last year, at least 40 current and former lobbyists became members of Biden’s transition team.
Charanya Krishnaswami was brought on in February to serve as senior counselor to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. In order for her to take on the role, the administration granted Krishnaswami an ethics waiver for her previous work as a registered lobbyist on a slew of immigration issues at the left-wing human rights group Amnesty International.