The top deputy to Biden’s education secretary was accused of violating an ethics pledge of the Biden administration after openly coordinating efforts between a former employer and the Department of Education.
Donna Harris-Aikens, who is Secretary Miguel Cardona’s deputy chief of staff, apparently violated the Biden Ethics Pledge which prevented Biden appointees from engaging in official communications with former employers.
Harris-Aikens used government email to communicate with the National Education Association (NEA), where she had worked for over fourteen years in various roles. Most recently, she was the NEA’s senior director of Education and Policy Practice.
She was “in regular contact with officials at the NEA from virtually her first moment at the Department,” which is a blatant violation of the ethics pledge. Her political activism included email correspondence about teachers’ unions’ input on school reopening guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Harris-Aikens also communicated with American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten and her former boss, NEA President Becky Pringle.
The ethics complaint was unveiled by the watchdog organization Protect the Public’s Trust. You can read the published letter here. Protect the Public’s Trust obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Ethics issues abound in many presidential administrations, but it is glaring when the administration claimed it would not be as corrupt as its predecessor. When campaigning, then-candidate Joe Biden emphasized that his administration would usher in normalcy in the nation’s capital.
Maybe what Biden meant was a return to ethics violations in Washington, D.C.