House Republicans raised concerns Tuesday over the appointment of former union officials to the Biden administration, arguing they presented potential conflicts of interest.
Republican Reps. James Comer and Virginia Foxx wrote letters to the Biden administration Tuesday seeking insight into the appointment process of two former union officials to administration roles, Fox News reports. The letters requested documents explaining how the officials were granted ethics waivers, which enable them to interact in an official capacity with their former unions.
“These waivers allow former union officials to conduct official government business with their former employer, creating the likelihood of conflicts of interest and political cronyism,” the Republicans wrote.
The Republicans also pointed to the influence of teachers unions on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policy regarding schools reopening as an example of unions infiltrating government.
“This is alarming considering the devastating effect teachers unions have had on the educational prospects of so many of our nation’s children,” the letter said.
The officials in question are Celeste Drake, a former AFL-CIO employee named the Made in America director at the Office of Budget and Management, and Alethea Predeoux, a former employee of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) named director of the Office of Congressional, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Office of Personnel Management.
The House Republicans said these appointments fit the “classic definition of a conflict of interest.”
“The AFL-CIO is a massive Democrat lobbying organization that routinely contributes to Democrat candidates, including President Biden’s 2020 campaign,” the Republicans wrote. “Because of the ethics waiver, Ms. Drake will be able to communicate with her former employer, allowing her to enact and advocate for policy that would directly benefit the AFL-CIO.”
As Made in America director, Drake is responsible for directing federal agencies to purchase American-made products.
The Republicans also expressed concern over Predeoux’s appointment, arguing that her time lobbying federal government employees would influence her decision-making in her new role.
“While at AFGE, she ‘worked to advance the union’s legislative agenda’, much of which would take place in front of the agency she now represents,” the Republicans said. “By appointing former union officials to positions that directly interact with their former employees, unions stand to directly benefit from Biden Administration policies.”
“He’s [Biden] granted ethics waivers to allow former union officials to wield government power on behalf of the union bosses. This is a conflict of interest, pure and simple,” Comer told Fox News on Tuesday.
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