Tech

Top Biden Aides Employed By Big Tech Still Hold Stock In Companies

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Michael Ginsberg General Assignment Reporter
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Top Biden administration aides have not yet fully divested themselves of Big Tech stock they held in the corporations.

Multiple Biden officials were paid in cash or held stock in Big Tech companies like Microsoft and Facebook while working for them as consultants or board members, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. Three of those aides still hold stock in the companies they were employed by.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan previously served on a Microsoft advisory board. He holds between $50,000 and $100,000 of Microsoft and Alphabet stock through a trust, according to disclosure forms obtained by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Sullivan also holds between $15,000 and $50,000 of Facebook stock. A White House official told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that Sullivan will divest himself of those stock holdings.

The Microsoft Exchange email service was breached by foreign hackers earlier in 2021. Microsoft suspects that the Chinese government sponsored the hackers, WSJ reported on March 6. Due to his business connections with Microsoft, Sullivan will cede some of his responsibilities to deputy national security adviser Anne Neubergher on the investigation. (RELATED: Trump Admin Accuses China-Backed Hackers Of Trying To Steal Coronavirus Research)

White House Domestic Policy Council head Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser to former President Barack Obama, holds stock in Netflix. Rice received the stocks as payment after she joined the company’s board of directors in 2018, WSJ reported.

Although Rice began selling her Netflix stock in August 2020 and resigned from the board in December, she still holds some options. She also holds stock in pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, both of which are producing coronavirus vaccines. A White House official told WSJ that Rice is not involved in the Biden administration’s decisions regarding vaccines.

Director of Legislative Affairs Louisa Terrell, who lobbied for Facebook and ran President Joe Biden’s family foundation, held between $250,000 and $500,000 in Facebook stock as of 2020. She has not divested all of that stock yet, according to a disclosure form obtained by WSJ. (RELATED: Facebook To Slap Safety Label On All COVID-19 Vaccine Posts)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was paid $5,000 as a consultant for Lyft, according to WSJ.

In addition to hiring former people with links to Big Tech, Biden appointed Columbia University professor Tim Wu to the National Economic Council. Wu called for the federal government to break up Facebook in 2019. Biden appointed Lina Khan, who also teaches at Columbia, for a position on the Federal Trade Commission. Khan previously worked on a House Judiciary Committee antitrust probe into Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook.