Beltway Confidential

Joe Biden hires corporate lobbyist as chief of staff -- again

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Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Joe Biden,Lobbying,Revolving Door

“He has a wealth of experience in policy and government," Joe Biden said of his new chief of staff, Steve Ricchetti.

The White House's statement on the hire notes Ricchetti's "10 years at the helm of an independent public affairs firm."

Translation: Biden's new chief of staff — like most of Biden's top aides — is a revolving-door corporate lobbyist.

Ricchetti founded his own lobbying firm after leaving the Clinton administration. His clients included Fannie Mae, General Motors, AT&T, Eli Lilly, Siemens, Pfizer and many more.

My favorite Ricchetti lobbying effort was the Coalition for American Priorities, which lobbied to save the estate tax. "There is a big moral dimension," Ricchetti said at the time, invoking the lofty aims of "basic fairness and equity" and "hard work."

Ricchetti never mentioned these efforts were funded by the life insurance lobby, which wanted to preserve the death tax so rich people would need the life insurers to save them from the tax. (Here's my 2012 column on Ricchetti.)

Ricchetti Inc., by the way, still exists, under the leadership of co-founder -- and Steve's brother -- Jeff. Ricchetti Inc. is lobbying on behalf of the American Hospital Association on Obamacare implementation -- plus other corporate clients.

Biden, more than almost any politician in Washington, is thick with K Street. His first chief of staff, Ron Klain, was a corporate lobbyist who lobbied for Fannie Mae, among others. His longtime Capitol Hill deputy chief of staff and White House confidant, Alan Hoffman, was also a lobbyist. He's got lobbyists in his family.

I wrote about Biden's Merry Band of Lobbyists back in 2010.

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