Protect the Public’s Trust, a watchdog group focused on exposing government officials’ misconduct, is calling for an investigation of outgoing White House press secretary Jen Psaki using her official position to disparage the competitor of her prospective future employer.
In a letter to Office of Government Ethics Director Emery Rounds and Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Chief Corey Amundson, PPT insists that an investigation into the potential conflict of interest caused by Psaki’s job negotiations with MSNBC and CNN is warranted, the Washington Examiner reported.
“The appearance of a conflict of interest risks further damaging the already low level of public trust in government,” the letter said. “In order to restore public trust and live up to Ms. Psaki’s own commitment to transparency and engagement, we are calling upon you to investigate whether Ms. Psaki violated her ethical duties, either in her remarks regarding Fox News or in her conduct while negotiating non-federal employment more generally.”
Psaki is reportedly set to leave the Biden administration soon to take a gig at MSNBC. There were various reports that MSNBC and CNN engaged in a bidding war for her services, and as the Examiner reported, federal law requires officials to recuse themselves from any particular matters involving prospective future employers. Yet, Psaki continues to interact with reporters from both of the networks during the televised daily press briefings.
“Jen Psaki’s reported efforts to secure a job with a major news organization while she serves as White House press secretary created a gauntlet of ethical obstacles,” PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told the newspaper.
“Despite her statements to the contrary, she appears to be willing to simply plow through without any regard to these additional obligations,” Chamberlain said. “Her latest — the demeaning of Fox News, a competitor of her prospective employer, while seeming to act in her official capacity — appears to be a misuse of her official position. Under the circumstances, it’s hard to see how the American public would not perceive the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
Just last week, Psaki took a hard swing at Fox News during an appearance on the “Pod Save America” podcast, playing off President Biden calling Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy “a stupid son of a b*tch.”
“He works for a network that provides people with questions that, nothing personal to any individual, including Peter Doocy, but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a b*tch,” Psaki said.
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