Amazon hired the lobbyist brother of a top adviser to President-elect Joe Biden after his election win last month, CNBC reports.
Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of Biden White House counsel Steve Ricchetti, registered to lobby for Amazon on November 13, about a week after Biden was projected to win the election.
The disclosure showed that Ricchetti would lobby on issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of the CARES Act.
Richetti also registered to lobby for Evofem Biosciences on issues related to “federal health policies pertaining to coverage for contraceptive services.”
Reuters previously reported that Biden’s agency review team included two Amazon officials and that Amazon executives were pushing for allies to get administration jobs.
Brother may have to recuse:
Steve Ricchetti, himself a former lobbyist, may have to recuse himself from issues that could affect his brother’s clients, ethics attorneys told CNBC.
“The option for Steve Ricchetti is to recuse from involvement in White House policy matters that directly and substantially impact the finances of his brother,” Paul Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at ethics watchdog Common Cause, told the outlet. “I think it’s fair to expect public officials to recuse themselves from government decision-making that could financially benefit their immediate family members.”
A source familiar with the Ricchettis told the outlet that they keep their professional lives separate.
“Jeff has never and will never lobby his brother on behalf of any of his clients, and Steve has had no role in his brother’s business since he sold his stake in the firm in 2012,” the source told CNBC. “Steve and Jeff keep their professional activities distinctly separate.”
Biden vowed to crack down on Amazon:
Biden said earlier this year that Amazon “should start paying their taxes.”
“I don’t think any company, I don’t give a damn how big they are, the Lord almighty, should absolutely be in a position where they pay no tax and make billions and billions and billions of dollars, No. 1,” he said in May.