President Biden released his ethics executive order last week. Improving on his predecessors’ appointee ethics pledges, Biden focused on some key tenets—maintaining public trust in government, merit-based decision-making without regard to personal or private gain, and avoiding any appearance of a conflict of interest when leaving public service.
We have seen ethics pledges come and go, but the Biden order provides restrictions for appointees coming into and leaving the government, a ban on accepting gifts from lobbyists, and the first attempt to rein in golden parachutes given to appointees because they accepted a government position. The intent is to ensure that public servants are serving the people and not working for their own self-interest or in the interest of their previous or future employers or clients.
The following chart provides a summary of the Biden order, comparing it to the orders of presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton. POGO provides an additional column detailing the ideal ethics order or statute.
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