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‘Pattern of corruption’: House GOP demands Biden admin explain questionable union relationships

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Two top House Republicans who’ve launched an investigation into the Biden administration’s incestuous relationship with unions have sent letters to the Office of Management and Budget demanding some answers — and demanding them now.

House Oversight Committee ranking member James Comer and House Education and Labor Committee ranking member Virginia Foxx seek to determine why President Joe Biden keeps waiving federal ethics rules to hire former union officials.

It’s an important question to ask, they write, given the recent bombshell finding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had allowed the country’s top teachers’ union to influence its decisions regarding the reopening of schools.

If that type of shady behavior was happening at the CDC, the two House Republicans have surmised, then chances are it may be happening at OMB.

Of particular concern to Comer and Foxx is the hiring of Celeste Drake, a former official at the largest labor union in America.

“On April 27, 2021, President Joe Biden appointed Celeste Drake to a position created for her — Made in America Director at OMB. Ms. Drake was previously a Trade and Globalization Policy Specialist for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations(AFL-CIO),” their letter reads.

“The AFL-CIO is a massive Democrat lobbying organization that routinely contributes to Democrat candidates, including President Biden’s 2020 campaign. Because of the ethics waiver, Ms. Drake will be able to communicate with her former employer, allowing her to enact and advocate for policy that would directly benefit the AFL-CIO. This is the classic definition of a conflict of interest,” it continues.

View letter one below:

Drake Letter by Fox News

Also of concern to Comer and Foxx is the hiring of Alethea Predeoux, a former official at the largest federal employee labor union in America.

“On March 25, 2021, OPM announced the appointment of Alethea Predeoux to be Director of the Office of Congressional, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at OPM. Ms. Predeoux was previously the Director of Legislative, Political and Grassroots Mobilizationat the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE),” their letter reads.

“AFGE lobbies for and represents hundreds of thousands of federal government employees providing ‘comprehensive services for members including legislative …and political…assistance.’ According to Ms. Predeoux’s official biography, while at AFGE, she ‘worked to advance the union’s legislative agenda’ much of which would take place in front of the agency she now represents,” the letter continues.

View letter two below:

Predeoux Letter by Fox News

Comer and Foxx aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed this disturbing pattern.

“The pattern of corruption between Democrats and big union bosses is obvious – just follow the money and follow the staff,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Katharine Cooksey said in a statement to Fox News two months ago.

Meanwhile, the president of the Job Creators Network, which lobbies for economic freedom, speculated that the influx of former union officials likely explains why the president keeps trying to push pro-union policies that would hurt the economy and non-unionized workers.

“It’s no surprise that President Biden’s union boss appointments have resulted in anti-worker policies like the PRO Act and the $15 minimum wage,” Alfredo Ortiz said to Axios.

Some might argue that the president’s crossing of ethics boundaries is also no surprise given all the other ethical issues plaguing his administration, including rampant nepotism:

Of course, the administration and its allies see nothing wrong with the president continually waiving federal ethics rules.

“I will reiterate that … the president signed an executive order requiring all appointees across the federal government to sign the most stringent ethics code ever adopted by any White House,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in May.

“The President, of course, has stood strong for unions throughout his career, and he’s proud to have leading labor voices in the White House. And there are circumstances — very, very limited — where it is in the interest of governing, in the interest of getting work done for the American people to issue these waivers,” she added.

Speaking with Government Executive magazine around that same time, Norm Eisen, a Brookings Institution fellow and former Obama administration ethics official, also came to the president’s defense.

“These are merited. My philosophy of granted waivers is that you should have tough rules and make occasional exceptions when there is a demonstrated need and that’s what you have here,” he said.

Of Drake and Predeoux, he further claimed the two “have specific expertise that’s important to do the job.”

But there are others — people without glaring conflicts of interest, who also have specific expertise for the job, no?

Vivek Saxena

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