THE lobbyist brother of a senior White House aide has raked in more than $8 million from its clients since President Biden took office in January 2021 – several companies that retain the related business are receiving direct boosts from the administration’s legislative agenda.
Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of advisor to the president Steve Ricchetti, took in $8.3 million between the first quarter of 2021 and the third quarter of 2023, according to Senate lobbying disclosures.
That’s about four times what Jeff made between the first quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of 2019when Donald Trump was in the White House and lobbying firm Ricchetti Inc. received about $2.2 million.
The windfall came as the Biden administration has repeatedly celebrated the work of companies Ricchetti lobbied for, including one of the largest U.S. automakers, medical and pharmaceutical companies and Amazon.
Family ties have prompted ethicists to call on Steve Ricchetti to recuse himself from any discussions with lawmakers that might concern his brother’s office, where Steve worked from 2001 to 2012.
“Steve Ricchetti should completely recuse himself from any part of the legislation his brother’s office is pushing, and then make sure the White House doesn’t respond to his brother’s calls,” Richard Painter, former chief counsel for ethics in the George W. Bush cabinet. administration, told the Washington Free Beaconwho was the first to report on the arrangement.
Walter Shaub, director of the US Office of Government Ethics during the Obama era, denounced the Biden administration in June 2021 for engaging in “unlawful” acts of nepotism during his first year on the job.
“I’m sorry, I know some people don’t like to hear criticism of him. But it really sucks. I am disgusted,” he said. “Many of us worked hard to restore ethics to government and believed in the promises. This is a real “f… you” for us – and for government ethics.
“I’m not lobbying my brother, and I haven’t been lobbying the White House this quarter either,” Jeff Ricchetti told the Wall Street Journal in July 2021 when asked about his work.
The White House also argued that Steve Ricchetti was recusing himself from his brother’s lobbying efforts.
During his first year in office, Biden paid a visit to a General Motors electric vehicle factory in Detroit – months after Congress passed its bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which included $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations and $5 billion for electric buses and low emissions.
That of Jeff Ricchetti lobbying disclosures for the 2021 show, he received six-figure sums to handle “issues related to tax incentives for electric vehicles and charging stations” and “issues related to climate policy that affect the automotive industry in general “.
A month later, Biden too signed a decree requiring government-purchased vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035.
Jeff Ricchetti also represents semiconductor maker Applied Materials, whose corporate vice president, Kamala Harris, visited in May to promote passage of the CHIPS Act, which included $52 billion in subsidies for domestic production of semiconductors.
The Taiwanese vaccine distributor Medigen also hired Jeff to lobby Congress on “issues related to Covid-19 vaccines accepted for foreign travelers to the United States.”
The following year, the National Institutes of Health awarded Medigen a global technology license to combat the fast-spreading Omicron variant, which was later used to vaccinate nearly a million Taiwanese citizens.
Ricchetti Inc.’s other clients include healthcare and pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline, Horizon Therapeutics, Vaxart Inc., Neurocrine Biosciences, Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals and Eisai.
At the same time, Jeff Ricchetti worked for TC Energy Corporation, which manages the Keystone XL pipeline that Biden shut down shortly after taking office.
The White House and Jeff Ricchetti did not immediately respond to requests for comment.