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Biden Installs New Ethics Rules

The rules will apply to roughly 1,200 Senate-confirmed positions

Yesterday afternoon, President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday establishing strict ethics rules for senior administration officials that in many ways go beyond the guidelines for appointees in both the Obama and Trump administrations.

The rules, which will apply to roughly 1,200 Senate-confirmed positions in the federal government, are designed to "restore and maintain public trust in government." The Biden order keeps the Obama administration ban on gifts from lobbyists and the prohibition on appointees and lobbyists entering the administration from working on matters related to their prior employment for two years, but it also addresses so-called "shadow lobbying" by banning senior appointees who leave their posts from appearing before their former agency for two years after leaving office, even in a non-lobbying capacity.

The rules do not totally ban lobbyists from serving in the administration but they must get a waiver from the White House counsel. The Biden order recognizes lobbying work for a nonprofit organization as a possible factor in granting a waiver. Biden also included restrictions on foreign agents who seek jobs in the administration and has banned departing appointees from working as foreign agents right after they leave office.

Norm Eisen, who served as President Barack Obama's White House counsel and wrote Obama's ethics order, wrote in POLITICO this week that the Biden order "does us one better."

"It restores the fundamentals of the Obama plan, closing loopholes Trump opened – but going further, including new crackdowns on special interest influence," Eisen said. "If implemented rigorously (always a big if) Biden's plan promises to go further to 'drain the swamp' than either of his predecessors."

This article was provided to OSAE by ASAE's Power of A and Inroads.

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