President Joe Biden has “legalized corruption” by placing more than 15 former WestExec members in key places within his administration, the Intercept revealed Wednesday.
“It’s a remarkable march through the revolving door” for the more than 15 former WestExec members to be selected for such powerful positions, “especially for a firm that only launched in 2017” according to the report.
“WestExec’s consultants are so connected and pedigreed that they often hold down multiple jobs, appointments, and titles,” the Intercept wrote.
The notable individuals who previously worked at WestExec are as follows:
- Jen Psaki, White House press secretary
- Tony Blinken, Secretary of State
- Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence
- David S. Cohen, Deputy Director of the CIA
- Lisa Monaco, Deputy Attorney General
- Chris Inglis, National Cyber Director
WestExec is a consulting firm that markets itself as a “unique geopolitical and policy expertise to help business leaders… defense, foreign policy, intelligence, economics, cybersecurity, data privacy, and strategic communications.”
The company also claims to be “committed to excellence, integrity, [and] bipartisanship.”
So many individuals working for the administration “poses concerns about the potential for groupthink, conflicts of interest, and what can only be called, however oxymoronically, legalized corruption,” the Intercept noted:
The arrival of each new WestExec adviser at the administration has been met with varying degrees of press coverage — headlines for the secretary of state, blurbs in trade publications for the head of cybersecurity — but the creeping monopolization of foreign policymaking by a single boutique consulting firm has gone largely unnoticed. The insularity of this network of policymakers poses concerns about the potential for groupthink, conflicts of interest, and what can only be called, however oxymoronically, legalized corruption.
Law professor at Washington University in St. Louis Kathleen Clark told the Intercept a conflict of interest seems to be apparent. “Yes, they’re employed by the government, I’ll grant you that,” Clark said. “But are they actually working for the American people or not? Where does their loyalty lie? The private sector can in essence co-opt the public sector.”
“That exempts them from public accountability, and that’s a problem because we can’t necessarily rely on internal controls and external, public disclosure,” Clarke said.
The White House also issued a statement to the Intercept, suggesting the revolving door of “private sector experience” is important to government.
“These White House officials are experienced government leaders whose prior private sector experience is part of a broad and diverse skill set they bring to government service,” the statement read.
WestExec has seemingly been successful due to fulfilling “the promise that its executives would have face time with its seasoned policymakers.”
“We felt other firms brought people in for big names and never got to see the big names,” a WestExec co-founder said in 2020. “Tony is on client calls.”
“West Exec’s advisors have worked together at the highest levels of government, navigating and anticipating the impact of international crises on decision making — we can provide the same insights and strategies to business leaders around the world,” Blinken wrote in a pamphlet advertising the consultancy before moving to the Department of State.