Advisor to President Steve Ricchetti (C) gestures after playing a round of golf with United States President Joe Biden at Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware on April 17, 2021.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
The son of one of President Joe Biden’s key White House advisors has just got a job at the Treasury Department.
The Treasury Department announced Monday that JJ Ricchetti, son of White House advisor and longtime Biden confidante Steve Ricchetti, would be a special assistant in the Legislative Office.
The announcement gave no details about what the role would entail, nor did it make any reference to who JJ Ricchetti is related to. It just means that he got his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania last year.
A Biden White House official who refused to be called to speak on the matter said the government hired Ricchetti’s son after he volunteered for the campaign. Since the post is an entry-level position in the Treasury Department, the official stressed that he would not work with senior White House officials.
The Friars Senior Society of the University of Pennsylvania lists JJ Ricchetti under the class of 2020. In an interview with the brothers’ website, JJ Ricchetti touts a quote from his mother Amy as one of his favorite quotes. Amy Ricchetti is Steve Ricchetti’s wife.
Steve Ricchetti is a key advisor to Biden on his $ 2 trillion infrastructure reform proposal and remains a point of contact for members of Congress on this matter.
Then there are the pictures on Steve Ricchetti’s Facebook page that show the younger JJ Ricchetti in family photos. “I’m a mini,” is JJ Ricchetti’s comment on one of the old Facebook photos from 2011.
There was no evidence that Steve Ricchetti had helped his son get the job.
A 2016 analysis by the Congressional Research Service reveals the hurdles White House and administration officials must overcome to avoid allegations of nepotism.
“The federal anti-nepotism law applies to all public officials (including the president and congressmen) in all three branches of federal government,” the report said. “These officials are prohibited from appointing, hiring, or promoting any particular class of relatives to any civilian position in the agency in which that official works or over which the official exercises authority – or to the appointment, recruitment or use promotion of them. “
Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics under former President Barack Obama and briefly Donald Trump, expressed his displeasure with the Treasury’s hiring of Ricchetti.
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“The nepotism law does not apply unless Ricchetti was involved in hiring his son. But it should raise eyebrows when the child of a senior political figure is hired straight out of college into a prominent position, ”Shaub told CNBC on Monday. “In a country of over 300 million people, is the son of a senior White House official the only person qualified for this job? It has a Jared and Ivanka feel to it.”
Nepotism was a huge concern during the Trump administration, especially as the former president hired his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner as top advisors to the White House.
Steve Ricchetti and the Treasury Department failed to respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, CNBC previously reported that Steve Ricchetti’s brother Jeff was lobbying some of his corporate clients at the White House.
Lobbying disclosures show that Jeff Ricchetti holds the President’s Executive Office for health giants GlaxoSmithKline, Horizon Therapeutics, and Vaxart Inc.
Ethics experts have told CNBC that it is worrying that Jeff Ricchetti is working with the EOP while his brother is advising Biden.