Former Facebook lawyer resigning from coveted position as Biden staff secretary

A former Facebook associate general counsel is resigning from her highly coveted post as the White House staff secretary months into the job, though the reasons for her departure are not yet clear.

According to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to Politico, Jessica Hertz is planning on leaving within days.

“Hertz, a former lawyer in Facebook’s Washington office, occupied one of the most powerful perches in the White House, controlling the flow of paper and documents that reached President Joe Biden’s desk,” the outlet reported. “She is one of the first senior White House staffers to leave the administration, which hasn’t hit its 10-month mark yet.”

The outlet went on to report that it’s not clear who will be tapped to replace Hertz, who led an eight-person office and also served as a deputy assistant to Biden.

Before Hertz joined the Biden transition team as a general counsel in the summer of 2020, she served as director and general counsel for regulatory issues at Facebook for more than two years.

In addition, Politico noted she was a principal deputy counsel for Biden when he was Barack Obama’s vice president before working at the law firm Jenner & Block for a time.

Her political career began during the Obama administration when she served as a counselor to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Cass Sunstein, before moving on to the Justice Department.

Described by some White House colleagues as extremely talented and easy to work with, Hertz took courses in French literature and history while attending Harvard University. She also earned a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

“Previous staff secretaries at the White House have gone on to prominent political posts,” Politico reported, noting that former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh served as staff secretaries during President George W. Bush’s administration.

Also, former White House Communications Director David Gergen was staff secretary during the late President Ronald Reagan’s term, while former White House chief of staff John Podesta and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) held the position during President Bill Clinton’s two terms.

Rob Porter was a staff secretary under President Donald Trump, but he resigned his post amid reports that he was abusive to his former wives, Politico noted.

Hertz’s resignation follows damning congressional testimony from former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen who blew the whistle recently on the social media giant’s practices in which she also called on lawmakers to pass legislation regulating her former employer and other platforms.

But not all lawmakers were on board. Some Republicans speculated that Haugen’s real motive was to allow the platforms to censor more content and justifiably so.

“I believe she is actually there to advocate for more censorship and less freedom of speech,” said Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), chair of the Freedom from Big Tech Caucus, in an interview with Fox Business.

“I can’t help but think that this entire FB whistleblower story is nothing more than a set up by the left to help justify MORE censorship,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) tweeted Monday.

Still, Haugen was critical of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who she said is only “accountable to himself.” In addition, she claimed that Zuckerberg has also been involved directly with day-to-day company decisions in which he allegedly placed profit over “changes that would have significantly decreased misinformation, hate speech and other inciting content.”

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Jon Dougherty

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