A government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint over President Joe Biden’s use of White House lawyers in response to the controversy over his handling of classified documents.
Protect the Public’s Trust sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, calling for an investigation to examine whether Biden is misusing his public office for his own private gain.
“Specifically, we believe taxpayer resources may have been inappropriately used by senior White House lawyers, including Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber, to personally benefit Joe Biden,” the complaint states.
“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 complaint adds. “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.”
The letter, first reported by Fox News, is also addressed to the Justice Department’s chief of the Public Integrity Section and the White House counsel.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate whether there were any violations of law in connection to classified documents found in an office in Washington, D.C., and in his home in Wilmington, Delaware. House Republicans also began an investigation into the growing scandal and demanded information from the Justice Department.
The documents, some of which have “top secret” materials, date back to Biden’s time as vice president. Although the first batch of documents was reportedly found in early November, days before the 2022 midterm elections, the discovery did not become public until last week. As more information came to light, Bob Bauer, one of Biden’s personal attorneys, released a timeline of their activities. Sauber, whom the White House hired last year as special counsel to the president to respond to GOP-led investigations in Congress, also released multiple statements offering new details.
On Friday, Sauber said he personally traveled to Biden’s home in Wilmington on Thursday to “facilitate” the transfer of a document with classified markings to the Justice Department because he had a security clearance, whereas Biden’s personal attorneys did not. Sauber said five additional pages with classified markings were discovered while he was transferring the original document to Justice Department officials who “accompanied” him. Sauber has insisted the White House is “fully” cooperating with the National Archives and Justice Department.
Upon being appointed special counsel by Garland, Hur released a brief statement emphasizing his independence.
“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment,” he said. “I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service.”