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An ethics watchdog, Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT), filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Transportation in response to the department’s failure to release records involving the movie “Mayor Pete”. PPT submitted a FOIA request for records relating to the movie, its production, and release in February. DOT estimated that the request would be fulfilled by the end of the month. PPT is still waiting for the information.

“Mayor Pete” is a movie about Buttigieg’s run for president during the 2020 Democrat primary. It was not released until late 2021 when Buttigieg was in office as the Secretary of Transportation. The movie had its world premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 14, 2021. It was released on November 12, 2021, on Amazon Prime Video. DOT is legally obligated to respond to the FOIA request yet so far the department is not living up to the promises of transparency from the Biden administration.

Did DOT improperly make use of department personnel or resources on official time to promote the film? That basic question can be answered by a release of any documents DOT may have in office records. A high profile movie about a member of a president’s cabinet presents the opportunity for bad behavior which can run afoul of federal ethics laws and regulations. PPT submitted the request after the release of the film requesting records from DOT relating to the movie, its production, and release.

Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust, released a statement on the federal watchdog group’s latest efforts to hold government officials accountable.

“The premiere of a movie featuring the Department head is precisely the type of event that creates a heightened potential for ethical misconduct,” Michael Chamberlain, Director of Protect the Public’s Trust declared. “Despite their earlier pronouncements, DOT seems to want to avoid the transparency that might expose any ethical missteps. The public can draw their own conclusions from that. This episode represents yet another case in which agencies have failed to exemplify the administration’s stated commitments to ethics and transparency.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland’s issued a memo last month declaring, “Transparency in government operations is a priority of this Administration.” So far, this administration has failed to live up to its promise to be the most transparent administration ever. Joe Biden has plenty of baggage due to the behavior of Biden, Inc. and the history of his family members exploiting his name and position to rake in millions of dollars in highly questionable deals. Just this week, Biden’s sister is providing the latest example of a Biden family member cashing in on the name with the release of her memoir. Valerie Biden Owens, described as a longtime campaign adviser and political confidante to Biden, is beginning a book tour in advance of the release of her memoir next week. Remember when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared last January, “It’s the White House’s policy that the President’s name should not be used in connection with any commercial activities to suggest or in any way – in any way they could reasonably be understood to imply his endorsement or support.” Does that same standard apply to Biden’s cabinet members?

It’s not the first time that Team Biden has been under scrutiny for questionable behavior over cashing in on connections to the administration.

The upcoming book tour and expected media blitz of Owens’ memoir about growing up as a Biden comes a little over a year after the transition team’s lawyers told Vice President-elect Harris’s niece she could no longer produce clothing or write any new books with Harris’s name or likeness, the Los Angeles Times reported in early 2021.

The memo released by the AG’s office stated that if there is a question as to if any information should be released under a FOIA request, “openness should prevail.” So, why is DOT dragging its feet now? The agency has failed to meet its prediction that it could honor PPT’s request by the end of February. What is the hold up? There may be nothing there to worry about covering up to protect Buttigieg. The point is, taxpayers will not know the answer to that question until DOT does what it said it would do and release any pertinent documents about the movie’s release.

The Biden administration has been promoting appearances by Buttigieg since the infrastructure bill was signed and he is rumored to be a potential replacement for Kamala Harris, should Biden run for re-election. And it is clear that Buttigieg has ambitions to make another presidential run. So, how he manages a major government agency is important. His record as Mayor of South Bend leaves much to be desired yet he seems to be one who fails up in his career, at least in politics.

I watched the movie, “Mayor Pete” yesterday to see what it was all about. It’s done in a behind-the-scenes documentary style. It documents his campaign and it was a good reminder of how shallow his campaign was, with the main focus being on his sexuality, not his grand vision for the country as an alternative to the other Democrats running in 2020. Buttigieg’s husband is featured as much as Pete is. The movie runs an hour and a half and, frankly, it’s boring. I gravitate to political documentaries but this one is really a waste of time. The viewer doesn’t come away with any new perspectives or information about the candidate. I assume that is because there is no ‘there’ there.

Source: This post first appeared on HotAir

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