A former Facebook executive who joined the White House as President Joe Biden’s personnel secretary is leaving the administration as scrutiny of the social media giant intensifies.
Jessica Hertz, former director and associate legal counsel for regulatory affairs at Facebook, joined the Biden-Harris transition in early September 2020. She was appointed general counsel later in the month.
Hertz began his political career under former President Barack Obama as an advisor to the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein. She then moved to the Department of Justice, followed by the office of then Vice President Biden.
Now, less than 10 months after the start of Biden’s administration, Hertz is leaving one of the most powerful positions in the White House. The White House has not motivated the departure of Hertz or announced a replacement.
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The post of staff secretary has long functioned as a springboard for politically astute staff members.
Democratic power broker John Podesta held the post before taking the reins from former chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton. The chairman of the Democratic Congressional campaign committee and representative for New York, Sean Patrick Maloney, also served under Clinton.
It’s grueling work that offers few short-term rewards, especially in an administration casting a skeptical eye on big tech companies.
“The Personnel Secretary is one of those important but not rewarding jobs in the White House that people sometimes take in anticipation of more important work down the line. You can think of it as a bullpen, ”said Jeff Hauser, who heads the Revolving Door Project, a Liberal government accountability group. “It’s not the brass ring, is it?” “
Hertz’s close ties to Facebook may have hampered his prospects for advancement in the Biden administration. The Federal Trade Commission and DOJ appointments all signaled a strong antitrust stance, Hauser said.
Meanwhile, Hertz’s previous role as OIRA adviser to former administrator Cass Sunstein gave her broad access to federal regulatory work.
“You have some visibility over almost all of government from a regulatory standpoint,” Hauser said, including “regulatory threats that might exist for a business like Facebook”.
He added, “You understand the regulatory capacity of government – any large multinational corporation is going to greatly appreciate that. “
Hertz’s close ties to Facebook came under scrutiny in the final days of the 2020 presidential campaign when Biden’s transition team named her their best ethics czar.
Upon joining the administration, Hertz documents revealed that she earned a salary of $ 780,000 from the tech giant in 2020, which she also divested between $ 100,000 and $ 1 million.
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As the Transition Ethics Czar, Hertz received $ 98,654. She also received a $ 20,000 salary from Columbia University in 2020 for her work as a law professor, according to her disclosure form.
Hertz was Biden’s senior deputy legal adviser during the Obama administration’s second term, where she oversaw “a wide range of government and regulatory investigations,” according to a Columbia Law School biography that was later deleted .