As Biden enters White House, a Few allies, former staffers Flourish as lobbyists

1 lobbyist firm is owned by the brother of Biden's new White House counselor.

As Biden enters White House, a Few allies, former staffers Flourish as lobbyists

1 lobbyist firm is owned by the brother of Biden's new White House counselor.

27 January 2021 Wednesday 13:13
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As Biden enters White House, a Few allies, former staffers Flourish as lobbyists

A number of President Joe Biden's former staffers and allies, and people near them out the White House, are cashing in as corporate and private interests look to exert their influence within the new government.

A lobbyist brother of Biden's new White House adviser Steve Ricchetti has reported his best quarter of company as 2009 after picking up a few important new clients just before and following the November election.

Ricchetti Inc., the lobbying firm Jeff Ricchetti formerly shared with this particular brother Steve, has signed up almost a dozen new customers, according to lobbying disclosure reports. Steve Ricchetti sold his stake and left the business in 2012 when he was picked as a counselor into then-Vice President Biden.

Jeff Ricchetti, who's now the sole registered lobbyist for Ricchetti Inc., did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

"Jeff has never and won't ever lobby his brother on behalf of any of his clients, and Steve has had no role in his brother's company because he sold his stake in the firm in 2012," a source close to Steve Ricchetti told ABC News. "Steve and Jeff keep their professional activities distinctly different."

In contrast, Ricchetti Inc. only picked up a couple new customers in the four decades before 2020, according to lobbying records.

From the end of the last quarter of 2020, the company reported $610,000 in lobbying revenues from 11 clients, including $80,000 from Eagle Pharmaceuticals and $60,000 by Amazon. That's nearly four times the amount the firm earned through the fourth quarter of 2019, and nearly equals the company's whole lobbying revenue for many of 2019.

Numerous allies and former staffers of a government revolve around the lobbying world in Washington, and the beginning of a new administration is a particularly active time for its lobbying world to pick up new clients, said Dan Auble, a senior researcher in Washington-based campaign fund group the Center for Responsive Politics, which initially reported on Ricchetti's latest lobbying activities.

"It's not new and it's not particularly surprising that lobbyists and lobbying firms with those relations and the experience about how people in the government think and function would be valuable to customers," Auble said. "It remains to be seen what type of conflicts that presents. It's definitely something to be careful of going forward."

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the recent increase of the Ricchetti brothers in and outside the Biden White House mirrors that of the Podesta brothers in the Obama and Clinton administrations, during which John Podesta served in several high-ranking positions in the White House while Tony Podesta built the powerful Washington lobbying firm, The Podesta Group.

Also flourishing as Biden takes office is Biden's former director of legislative acts, Sudafi Henry, that also had a flourishing final quarter of 2020. It's uncertain when he left the government, but he had been with Biden's office until 2012.

Called a"top-performing lobbying firm" from Bloomberg Government in 2019, Henry's company earned a total of $620,000 from various high-powered customers in the last quarter of 2020, up from $370,000 in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

TheGroup's latest clients combine a Rolodex of existing big-name company customers, such as PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase, FedEx, Facebook, BP America, Dell and 3M.

Henry didn't respond to a request for comment in ABC News.

Throughout the Trump administration, close allies of Donald Trump including former Trump campaign director Corey Lewandowski and Trump confidant and fundraiser Brian Ballard similarly conducted lucrative lobbying businesses.

Ballard, in fact, has made a fast transition following Biden's success. Earlier this month, his company, Ballard Partners, announced that it was adding some big Democratic names to its group, including Courtney Whitney, a top Democratic fundraiser that was a consultant for the pro-Biden super PAC Priorities USA.



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