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Brother of Biden’s Top Adviser Is Lobbyist for General Motors

The brother of President Joe Biden’s top adviser is a lobbyist for General Motors (GM), complicating matters for the White House as the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against record inflation and the administration’s electric vehicle (EV) mandates.

Jeff Ricchetti, the brother of Steve Ricchetti, who currently serves as Counselor to the President in the Biden administration, has a well-documented history of lobbying for GM. Steve Ricchetti was also once a lobbyist for GM.

Most recently, Politico buried in a report regarding Biden’s ties to GM CEO Mary Barra how the White House has many close ties to the automaker. Jeff Ricchetti is one of the more prominent connections as he has brought in “over half a million dollars” since Biden took office:

Jeff Ricchetti, whose brother Steve Ricchetti is a counselor to Biden, currently lobbies for General Motors. The company has paid his firm over half a million dollars since the start of 2021. Steve Ricchetti himself also lobbied for General Motors between 2001 and 2008, a few years before he became counselor to then-Vice President Biden, and later his chief of staff. Both of them lobbied the Senate for GM while Biden was a senator from Delaware, according to disclosure records. [Emphasis added]

According to Open Secrets, Jeff Ricchetti has dramatically increased his earnings with Biden in the White House. In April 2021, the watchdog group reported that Jeff Ricchetti had “raked in $820,000 in lobbying revenue from January through March” which was “nearly five times more than he earned during the same period last year.”

“The rapid rise in lobbying revenue indicates that corporate interests believe Ricchetti can help them access the White House, where his brother plays a prominent role advising President Joe Biden and negotiating the terms of the president’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure package,” Open Secrets reported.

Later in 2021, Jeff Ricchetti lobbied members of Biden’s National Security Council (NSC) on behalf of GM, according to CNBC:

The brother of one of President Joe Biden’s closest advisors lobbied members of the National Security Council for General Motors in the second quarter, according to a new disclosure report reviewed by CNBC. [Emphasis added]

The report shows that Jeff Ricchetti, brother of White House counselor Steve Ricchetti, engaged with the NSC for the car-making giant on “issues related to China.” The company paid Ricchetti $60,000 last quarter for his lobbying services. [Emphasis added]

Jeff Ricchetti said in an email to CNBC that he no longer lobbies the White House Office, which is currently led by Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain. He did not answer several other questions, including whom he spoke with at the National Security Council on behalf of GM, and specifically what he was lobbying about with regard to China. [Emphasis added]

Biden’s closeness to GM executives and their lobbyists comes as the UAW strikes against GM, Ford, and Stellantis for better wages amid sky-high inflation. Auto workers also want commitments that their jobs will not be eliminated as a result of Biden’s mandate that the United States economy rapidly transition to EVs.

After former President Donald Trump announced he would visit striking auto workers on Wednesday, Biden subsequently announced, days later, that he would visit workers on Tuesday.

While auto workers ask for higher pay, automaker executives such as Barra, who are close to Biden, have taken massive pay hikes in recent years. In 2022, Barra made almost $29 million, which is 362 times the median paycheck of the average GM employee.

“Profits at the ‘Big 3’ auto companies — Ford, GM, and Stellantis — skyrocketed 92 percent from 2013 to 2022, totaling $250 billion,” the Economic Policy Institute found.

Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is showering automakers with a massive windfall via taxpayer-funded tax credits for EVs made in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

At the same time, a publicly funded transition from combustion engines to EVs has the potential to eliminate millions of American auto jobs altogether and is already cutting wages for American auto workers.

 

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