While the corporate media found that the Trump administration raised ethical issues by contracting with political consulting firms, the practice now appears perfectly acceptable in the Biden White House.
Reports this week that the Biden administration was spending tens of thousands of dollars to hire a Democratic political consultant were treated as business as usual and of no ethical concern. The consultant was brought on to provide media training for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky.
The consulting fees were revealed by Politico in its Wednesday publication of its West Wing Playbook newsletter. The outlet cited one expert who said Walensky was due “kudos for her understanding that it is actually important to prioritize.”
Another expert cited by Politico said that the spending of public funds for political consulting is reasonable, even though it “seems extravagant to most lay people.”
The administration has spent $25,750 in public money to train Walensky so far and has authorized another $30,500 to continue her coaching.
During the Trump administration, the Department of Health and Human Services paid a Republican consulting firm for “strategic communications support.” That led Politico to publish a lengthy report in March 2019 on the contract, saying it raised “ethical questions” about the administration.
The media attention that resulted led the Trump White House to suspend the contract. Some commentators said the contract pointed up what they called the administration’s “routine corruption.”
This year’s payments for Democrats to provide Walensky with “media training” were made for expressly political purposes. The consulting firm that was hired is led by longtime leftist operative Mandy Grunwald to give Walensky training after a series of “messaging missteps.”
Her problems in handling the media included one situation where she told reporters that persons who had received COVID-19 vaccines “do not carry” the virus. That instance and others disrupted the Biden White House COVID narrative and hurt polling numbers.
Grunwald has also worked with Hillary Clinton as well as Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). She also acted as director of advertising for the 1992 Bill Clinton presidential campaign.
According to federal campaign finance disclosures required by law, Grunwald has given more than $36,000 to Democratic politicians and organizations since 1993.