A lobbying firm run by the brother of a top adviser to President Biden saw its fees skyrocket in the first half of this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The Journal, citing disclosure forms, reported that Richetti, Inc. A Washington-based shop overseen by Jeff Richetti — the brother of President Steve Richetti’s counselor — collected $1.67 million in lobbying fees between January and June of this year.
In contrast, the firm took in just $370,000 in the first six months of 2020.
The firm’s clients include big names like Amazon, General Motors, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and TC Energy, the company behind the now-cancelled Keystone XL pipeline.
Richetti Inc.’s family ties with the White House have raised ethical concerns. The Journal reported that Jeff Richetti contacted the President’s Executive Office on behalf of several of his clients, which he did not do during the Trump administration.
“I don’t represent my brother, nor have I lobbied for the White House this quarter,” Jeff Richetti told the newspaper in an email. The White House told the Journal that Steve Richetti — a former lobbyist and director of Richetti, Inc. co-founder of – his brother, dissociates himself from matters relating to the firm and its clients.
Steve Richetti isn’t the only member of the Richetti clan to serve in the Biden administration. Son JJ, a 2020 college graduate, works in the Treasury Department, while daughter Shannon works in the Office of the White House Social Secretary.
Apart from the Richetti, many other families have two or more members working in the administration. The wife of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Evan Ryan, is the White House Cabinet Secretary, the main point of contact between the White House and other departments and agencies of the federal government.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s wife Maggie Goodlander serves as an attorney for Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Justice Department. Sullivan’s younger brother Tom is the deputy chief of staff for policy at the State Department, a position he held during the Obama administration. Tom’s wife, Rose, serves as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Law at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Next is White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, whose sister Stephanie also serves as senior adviser on human rights and gender equality in the Office of Global Affairs at HHS.
In addition, senior White House adviser Anita Dunn, deputy chief of staff Bruce Reid and director of the Office of Presidential Personnel Kathy Russell each have at least one family member employed by the administration.
Family ties came under fire last month from former US government ethics office Walter Schaab, who took office during Barack Obama’s second term.
“I’m sorry, I know some people don’t like hearing any criticism of him,” Schaub tweeted of Biden. “But it royally sucks. I’m angry. A lot of us worked hard to restore morality in government and believed the promises. It’s a real ‘f-you’ for us and for government morality.”
“The jobs went to the privileged kiddos along with the moms and daddies who supported even the POTUS,” Schaab said. “Nepotism is illegal.”