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Ethics Group Hammers Biden Admin Over New Press Secretary’s CNN ‘Conflict of Interest’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A government watchdog group is demanding that President Joe Biden’s administration be true to its promise to be transparent and it centers around the new White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The group is demanding that the White House release the ethics documents related to Jean-Pierre and her relationship with CNN journalist Suzanne Malveaux with who she has a 7-year-old daughter, The Daily Mail reported.

“Restrictions regarding conflicts of interest for political appointees are imputed on the appointee’s spouse,” Michael Chamberlain, Director of ethics watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust said.

“Regardless of the legal status of her relationship with Malveaux, given Jean-Pierre’s unique role with the media, this certainly presents the appearance of a potential conflict of interest,” the director said.

“If the Biden Administration is going to be true to their pledges to be the most ethical and most transparent in history, they should feel an obligation to go beyond the minimum legal requirements for disclosure and release all of Ms. Jean-Pierre’s ethics documents as well as the related conversations with ethics officials,” he said.

“Protect the Public’s Trust called for this transparency with respect to Ms. Psaki’s post-government employment search as well,” he said.

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During a press briefing on Friday, Psaki, who leaves the job next Friday, was emotional in describing her replacement’s qualifications.

PSAKI: First, as you all know, she will be the first Black woman, the first out LGBTQ+ person to serve in this role, which is amazing, because representation matters.  And she is going to — she will give a voice to so many, and allow — and show so many what is truly possible when you work hard and dream big, and that matters.  And we should not — we should celebrate that.

But I also want to make clear what all of her qualifications are, what a remarkable person is.  She got her start in New York City politics.  She comes to this job with decades of experience, even though she looks very young.  We’re both in our 20s.

JEAN-PIERRE:  (Laughs.)  That’s right.

MS. PSAKI:  Having served in communications and political roles on many campaigns, in the Obama-Biden administration, and for both of former — Obam- — President Obama’s campaigns.

She’s a longtime advisor to President Biden and Dr. Biden — they are partners — having served in senior roles for him and for both of them back to when he was Vice President.

And she’s worked for a number of advocacy organizations, fighting for issues and justice for so many Americans.

And I just want to say: I will have a lot to say about how grateful I am for being — for the trust the President and the First Lady and the whole team have given me and entrusted me in the last 15 months, but this day is about Karine.  And we’re — I want to celebrate her.

And on a personal note: I want to say that one of the first conversations we had when we both found out we were —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  (Laughs.)  Yes.

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MS. PSAKI:  — getting these jobs was about how we wanted to build a drama-free — on your best days — place, workplace where everybody worked hard; where we, on our best days, we’re rebuilding trust with the public.  And I am just so grateful to have had Karine by my side for this over the last 15 months, and I just can’t wait to see her shine at the podium.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thanks, Jen.

MS. PSAKI:  So, congratulations.  And I can’t wait to see you bring your own style and brilliance to this job.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thank you.  Love you, Jen.

MS. PSAKI:  Love you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MS. PSAKI:  I promised not to cry again.  So that’s it.

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