Biden Picks Lawyers Tasked With Undoing Trump Ethics Legacy


·         Team to play central role in vetting judge picks

·         Attorneys to oversee return of Obama lobbyist ban


Courtney Rozen and Dean Scott, Bloomberg Law

Jan. 11, 2021


President-elect Joe Biden named more than 20 lawyers to his White House counsel’s office, where they will help the new president revise ethics standards and put his imprint on the federal bench.


The attorneys draw on expertise in civil rights, health, and environmental law, all topics that Biden has also said will be focal points in his administration. They offer a broad array of firm, in-house, and government experience, including in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department and firms such as WilmerHale LLP, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.


The group includes Paige Herwig, who was counsel to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former House Committee on Oversight and Reform lawyer Janet Kim, and Lauren Moore, who was Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s lawyer on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The attorneys will work under Dana Remus, a former White House ethics lawyer who specialized in legal ethics at the University of North Carolina before being named Biden’s White House counsel.


“This qualified and crisis-tested legal team will ensure that this administration is accountable and always operates in service of the American people,” Biden said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg Law.


The bulk of ethics requirements guiding the U.S. government can be traced back to the Watergate scandal. As a candidate for president, Biden called for new ethics laws responding to practices of the Trump presidency, such as an expansion of lobbying disclosure requirements and restrictions on public officials’ ability to transfer assets into trusts controlled by family members.


The counsel’s office, often charged with vetting and recommending judicial nominees, will also be on the front lines if the Biden administration hopes to eventually counter the ideological shift on the federal bench cemented by Trump and Senate Republicans. Trump has made more than 230 lifetime judicial appointments in four years, including three Supreme Court justices.


With Herwig, the Biden White House how has at least four staffers with a connection to Facebook Inc. Jessica Hertz, who previously worked on the social network’s regulatory team, will serve as staff secretary and Louisa Terrell, who directed public policy for Facebook, will head legislative affairs. Biden coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients left Facebook’s board earlier this year.


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