WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top Biden administration officials had previously undisclosed ties to large corporations including tech giants Microsoft Corp, Alphabet’s Google and Facebook Inc, financial disclosures by the White House show.
According to the filings with the Office of Government Ethics, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan served on an advisory council for Microsoft from 2017 through May of last year. He was paid $45,000 last year, according to his disclosure, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
Sullivan, who oversees an interagency response to January’s cyberattack on Microsoft’s Exchange email software, holds between $50,000 and $100,000 of stock in both Microsoft and Alphabet and owns between $15,000 and $50,000 of Facebook stock, the disclosure shows.
The White House said in a statement on Sunday that officials such as Sullivan are “experienced government leaders whose past private sector experience is part of a broad and diverse skill set they bring to government service.”
A White House official said Sullivan is not participating in decisions directly affecting Microsoft, has not had any contact with the company and is consulting with NSC lawyers to remain in compliance with ethics requirements.
The official said Sullivan is divesting himself of all of his stockholdings.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said “individuals from across the political spectrum offer ideas and advice on a variety of national policy issues” to the company.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki was paid at least $5,000 as a communications consultant for Lyft Inc. The White House official said the consulting involved writing a plan and occurred for about six months.
The disclosures were first reported by the Associated Press.
Key officials in the Trump administration had ties to Wall Street, the oil and gas industry and the real estate sector.
Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Daniel Wallis