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On January 20, the very day he was inaugurated as President of the United States, Joe Biden issued an executive order on “Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel” in which he committed new appointees in every executive agency to take an ethics pledge. That pledge promised, “I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.” Yet Biden and his administration, which are heavily connected to labor unions across the country, granted waivers to two former union officials, claiming that the waivers were “in the public interest,” a phrase used in the executive order to give Biden the rationale for circumventing the aforementioned pledges by the prospective appointee. The executive order states that a waiver may be granted by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Counsel to the President, if it is determined “that the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction; or that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver.”

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