Joe Biden Draws Ethics Complaint Over Mishandling of Classified Documents

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

What a week it’s been for Joe Biden. Whatever the reason(s) behind the discovery and disclosure of the fact that the President had classified documents stashed at various unsecured locations (and make no mistake, this wasn’t just a fortuitous development), it seems Mr. Biden may finally be reaping the whirlwind of his own “irresponsibility.” And it isn’t just about potential criminal repercussions for the mishandling, but added ethical issues with the handling of that mishandling.


Fox News is reporting that a government watchdog organization — “Protect the Public’s Trust” — has now filed an ethics complaint with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

PPT’s complaint raises concerns that the use of the White House Counsel’s Office to assist Biden in relation to an issue arising out of his capacity as a citizen improperly uses taxpayer resources and creates a conflict of interest:

[T]axpayer resources may have been inappropriately used by senior White House lawyers, including Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber, to personally benefit Joe Biden. We further believe that the apparent representation of Mr. Biden by the White House Counsel’s Office in this matter creates an untenable conflict of interest for that office. The result, intended or not, could be to reduce transparency into the mishandling of state secrets and foreclose disclosure of communications between White House Counsel staff while acting on behalf of Joe Biden in his capacity as a citizen facing the prospect of criminal prosecution.

As it lays out the underlying factual and legal basis for the concerns, the complaint further contends:

The Office of White House Counsel advises the President in his capacity as President; its standard “client” is the Office of the President and it typically represents the interests of the institution of the presidency. As such, it is responsible for advising on all legal aspects of policy questions; legal issues arising in connection with the president’s decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures; and conflicts of interest during employment and post-employment. The counsel’s office also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles presidential pardons, reviews legislation and presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the president in his role as president, as well as serving as the White House contact for the Department of Justice.

The White House Counsel’s Office is not the President’s personal law firm. It does not represent the President in purely personal matters that are separate from his role as President.


PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told Fox News Digital:

“The American public will not tolerate a two-tiered system of justice – with well-connected insiders subject to a lower standard of scrutiny than the normal citizen.

“President Biden promised the most ethical and transparent administration in history…If the White House compounded a scandal involving possible mishandling of classified documents by improperly using taxpayer resources for his personal benefit and putting White House attorneys in positions that created conflicts of interest, we could be witnessing a serious betrayal of the public’s already-plummeting trust.

Further, notes Chamberlain, “It also creates the spectre of possible obstruction of a congressional investigation, depending on the legal basis for the intervention and any future privileges claimed by the White House on this escalating scandal.”

This is raising questions for congressional leaders as well:

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, weighed in on the complaint, asking why the president’s special counsel was with Department of Justice (DOJ) officials gathering the classified documents.

“Why was White House Special Counsel Richard Sauber accompanying DOJ officials while they collected classified documents at the Biden residence?” Jordan asked. “Mr. Sauber’s role raises serious concerns about the integrity of the Justice Department’s investigation.”

At a time when trust in the DOJ is already precarious, this apparent conflict of interest further erodes confidence in our justice system.


What, if any, action the OGE will take in response to the complaint, of course, remains to be seen. We’ll continue to follow the story here at RedState and provide updates as they become available.


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