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FIRST ON FOX: Senior White House adviser Anita Dunn is facing an ethics complaint from a government watchdog group amid her return to the West Wing for the third time under the Biden administration.
Fox News Digital exclusively obtained the ethics complaint filed by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a government ethics watchdog, against Dunn for his “failure to file required personal financial disclosure” before his return to the White House.
FACT also called on the White House Office of Government Ethics (OGE) to take action regarding its lack of personal financial disclosure.
FIRST WH COUNSELOR ANITA DUNN DODGES PUBLIC ETHICS DISCLOSURE
“Prior to her employment in government, Anita Dunn was a founding member of SKDK, a business and political consulting firm, and worked for President Biden’s 2020 campaign,” the complaint reads. “Since January 2021, Dunn has either been employed by the White House, worked for SKDK, or both at the same time.”
“Despite her positions as a senior adviser to the White House, Dunn did not file a public financial disclosure report,” the complaint continues. “The administration asserted that Dunn did not need to file a public report because she was classified as a ‘special government employee’ and her salary fell below the $132,552 threshold requiring public disclosure.”
A White House spokesperson has reported to Fox News Digital reports that Dunn’s more permanent role this time around requires him to sign an ethics pledge as well as submit personal financial information and falls under ethics rules. government ethics. The spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s follow-up question as to when Dunn would submit his disclosure.
FACT wrote that the White House’s assertion that Dunn did not need to file personal financial information in his previous roles “appears to be an intentional attempt to avoid ethics laws” and the “classification of ”special government employee’ is a person retained to perform temporary duties for no more than 130 days’, such as someone undergoing National Guard training.
“The role of ‘senior adviser’ is not temporary, but rather an ongoing position in the administration, demonstrated by the fact that past and current advisers have filed public financial statements, including another senior adviser to President Biden , Mike Donilon,” FACT wrote in the complaint.
“Furthermore, Dunn’s first stint of employment alone lasted over 130 days for those classed as a government special employee. Her return multiple times also shows that this is not a job. temporary,” FACT continued. “Furthermore, Dunn’s salary was $129,000, just below the threshold requiring public disclosure and significantly lower than the $180,000 salary of other White House officials with the same seniority.”
FACT wrote that the disclosures for Dunn’s positions are “extremely necessary” and that “the White House employment agreement in which Dunn is able to maintain her ties to a private company while serving as an adviser senior raises serious concerns of conflicts of interest and improper influence.”
“It is patently clear that Dunn’s position in the White House is one where public disclosure is necessary because of his power to influence government action and policy, but it is also required by law.” , concluded the watchdog organization in its complaint.
“As illustrated here, a government official’s failure to adhere to the most basic rules of ethics leads to public distrust of our government. Moreover, the lack of transparency and the consequences that flow from it are particularly damaging because it seems like the law doesn’t apply equally to everyone,” they continued. “We are asking the Office of Government Ethics to investigate and take appropriate action.”
Dunn left the Biden administration last year after he was able to avoid publicly disclosing his personal finances and business interests, unlike other presidential appointees, due to what appears to be an ethical flaw.
Former President Obama’s ethics chief Walter Shaub slammed the decision to bring Dunn back in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying “his third rotation in the White House is an ugly sign of the status quo in Washington.” .
“Like many past administrations, this one is too comfortable inviting influence peddlers through the revolving door, and in Dunn’s case, that door is locked in a high-speed spinning cycle,” said Shaub continued. “The last two times they have set his salary below the threshold of public financial disclosure and a host of ethical requirements, despite his outsized influence, showing that they see ethics as just a set of technical rules to to play.”
“Biden may have achieved his goal of being more ethical than Trump, but that’s a low bar and I don’t think ethics is among the 999 things he cares about,” the former added. Obama’s ethics chief.
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Shaub has been highly critical of the Biden administration’s hiring processes and decisions, after suing the White House for hiring Michael Czin – a former employee of SKDK, a pro-Biden consulting firm co-founded by Dunn.
Obama’s former ethics chief also said last year that the Biden administration was sending a “f— you” message to ethics experts by hiring so many relatives of top White House officials, including Steve Ricchetti, Jake Sullivan and Jen Psaki.
“I’m sorry, I know some people don’t like to hear criticism of him. But this royally sucks. I’m disgusted,” Shaub wrote in a Twitter thread reacting to a post about the family ties of the two. Biden officials.
‘A lot of us worked hard to convince him to restore the ethics of government and believed the promises,’ Shaub added, calling the series of family-related hires ‘real ‘f*** you’ for us – and the ethics of government.”
“EVEN THE F-ING PRESIDENTIAL CHIEF OF STAFF, WHO IS SUPPOSED TO KEEP THEM HONEST, HAS A CHILD WHO IS A RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATE WORKING IN ADMINISTRATION AND THE WIFE OF THE WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF, FOR SHOUT LOUD LOUD,” Shaub added.
Federal law requires highly involved presidential appointees to publicly disclose their finances, but some appointees — known as special government employees — may waive financial disclosure if they hold office for less than 10 years. 130 working days and their salary is $132,500 or less.
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Between Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 and Aug. 12, the length of Dunn’s first stint in the White House, there were 205 calendar days. According to United States Federal Labor Relations Authorityany work “performed on a given day means that day is counted as a working day”, including weekends.
If Dunn hadn’t worked any of those weekends, which seems unlikely given her role as a senior adviser working on infrastructure and other White House priorities, Dunn would still have worked 142 days. If you take federal holidays, Dunn would have worked at least 137 days.
Dunn also spent a week at the White House in March as she replaced Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon while on personal leave.