Former Vice President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he would select Washington swamp monster Steve Ricchetti to serve as the “counselor to the president.”
Throughout his Washington career, Riccetti had his own “revolving door” from the lobbying world to political power.
In the late 1980s, he began as a lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance before moving to lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In 1993, he joined the Clinton White House before leaving in 1996 to start a lobbying firm with his brother Jeff.
The Ricchetti brothers sold their firm to Tony Podesta in 1999 after Steve Ricchetti returned to the Clinton White House for another stint.
After Clinton appointed John Podesta as his chief of staff, Podesta named Richhetti as the White House deputy chief of staff.
A New York Times article published in 2000 compared the Ricchetti brothers to John Podesta and Tony Podesta as the well-heeled power brokers in Washington, DC.
“The Medicis controlled everything,” Tony Podesta said in the interview, referring to the merchant family that ruled Renaissance Florence. “We have it split into two families.”
After Bill Clinton left office, Ricchetti started another lobbying firm with his brother, putting him in a prime position to begin raising money for former first lady Hillary Clinton’s inaugural presidential run in 2008.
The Ricchetti firm’s client list included well-known companies such as General Motors, the American Hospital Association, AT&T, Eli Lilly, Nextel, Novartis, Pfizer, and even Fannie Mae in the years prior to the financial crisis.
The investments paid off.
For example, as Senator of New York, Hillary Clinton helped direct $8 million in federal money to General Motors through earmarks in legislation between 2005 and 2007.
Ricchetti Incorporated continues as a lobbying firm in 2020, still signing clients with his brother Jeff as the lead lobbyist.
Steve Ricchetti also served on the board of Podesta’s Center for American Progress, a leftist think tank with several Clinton administration alums on the board.
When Hillary Clinton ran for president, Ricchetti served as a “Hillraiser,” the term used for the best wealthy campaign fundraising bundlers helping her keep a financial edge over her opponent at the time, Sen. Barack Obama.
Ricchetti was largely shut out from the Obama administration because of his ties to Hillary and his lobbying past, until he found his way into Biden’s orbit.
Biden decided to appoint Ricchetti as his chief of staff in 2011, but White House aides Jim Messina and David Plouffe flatly rejected the idea, according to the New York Times. After Biden complained to Obama, he ultimately got his way and Ricchetti was back in the White House.
After the Obama administration, Ricchetti helped Biden set up several non-profits that conveniently paid his top staff and advisors large salaries while they waited out the Trump administration.
Ricchetti served as the managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement until he started setting up Biden’s run for president in late 2019, playing a critical role in getting the campaign started.
As the campaign chairman for the Biden campaign, Ricchetti helped the former Vice President quickly raise money by personally hosting big-dollar fundraisers for his former and future boss.
In January, Ricchetti personally met with 90 Wall Street financiers, according to CNBC, urging them to rally behind Biden as they faced a tough fight with the more leftist candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Riccetti’s return to the White House demonstrates that decades of establishment power and influence within the administration will survive.
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