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WH Says New Biden Aide's Past Lobbying No Problem WH Says New Biden Aide's Past Lobbying No Problem

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WH Says New Biden Aide's Past Lobbying No Problem

Steve Ricchetti, an ex-lobbyist and Clinton administration official, is back at the White House today as a counselor to Vice President Joe Biden.

Ricchetti, who last registered to lobby in 2008, meets the Obama administration's self-imposed two-year cooling-off period. President Obama, who campaigned in part on reducing the influence of lobbyists in the government, signed an executive order banning ex-lobbyists from working on issues related to their former jobs for two years. (Many K Streeters have speculated that Ricchetti de-registered because he was eying another administration job.)

Still, his firm, Ricchetti Inc., continued lobbying even after he was no longer registered, making $1.34 million lobbying last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The firm's clients include insurance and hospital organizations, and Ricchetti's brother, Jeff, remains a lobbyist there.

Despite the firm's lobbying work, a White House official said Ricchetti's hiring presented no ethical issues: "Steve Ricchetti has not acted as a lobbyist within the past two years. Since 2008, Steve advised clients on public policy, communications strategy, and grassroots efforts but did not act as a lobbyist with the federal government on behalf of any client."

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