Joe Biden’s transition team named a high-ranking former Facebook official as its general counsel on Wednesday, drawing criticism from the progressive wing of the Democratic party.
The Biden team charged Jessica Hertz, who spent two years as a Facebook executive navigating government regulations, with implementing the team’s ethics plan. The news comes less than two weeks after the transition team hired Twitter director of public policy Carlos Monje.
The decision to hire Hertz was made despite the Biden-campaign’s past criticisms of Facebook. Biden himself in a New York Times interview threatened to revoke Section 230 legal immunities from the company. Additionally, Biden-campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year accusing Facebook of being “the nation’s foremost propagator of disinformation about the voting process.”
“The ultimate arbiter for ethics for the Biden transition was a senior regulatory official for Facebook up until a few months ago, at a time when progressives and the Biden campaign are fighting against the right-wing agenda of Facebook,” Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project, told Politico. “I think the Trump administration is insanely corrupt and I’m not equating the two, but this is deeply disappointing.”
Caitlin Lang, a spokesperson for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said the Biden transition team’s ethics plan did not go far enough in preventing lobbyists from gaining a foothold in a potential Biden administration.
“Biden-Harris ethics rules should go as far or further than the Obama-Biden administration in banning corporate lobbyists, officers, or agents with conflicting loyalties from serving in the next Administration,” Lang said. However, Biden’s current ethics rules “do not come close to rebuilding trust in government or meeting this moment.”
Allies of Big Tech companies have already gained a foothold on Biden-campaign policy planning initiatives, according to a Times report from August. Consultants and former senior employees from Facebook, Apple, and Amazon have been hired despite opposition from progressives.