Joe Biden announced his pick to lead the Office of Government Ethics on Tuesday, thereby intending to fill a vacancy in its top leadership position that has been open for a few months.
David Huitema is the nominee for director of the office that monitors financial disclosures for civil servants and makes ethics rules for more than 130 federal agencies.
Huitema, who holds a law degree from Stanford Law School, has worked at the Department of State as an ethics official managing the agency’s compliance on a day-to-day basis. If confirmed by the Senate, Huitema would officially replace the former director, Emory Rounds, a Trump appointee.
Rounds stepped down in July after holding the position since 2018. Directors of OGE are appointed to five-year terms.
Huitema would be taking the helm at a time when OGE will be particularly active leading up to the 2024 presidential election. The agency is responsible for fulfilling certain oversight duties under the Presidential Transitions Act.
Additionally, the agency will be making updates to its congressionally mandated electronic public financial disclosure filing system, called Integrity, that will need to meet the demands a record number of users.
“In fiscal year 2024, the demands on the system will continue to increase due to the record number of filers (over 25,700) using the system and due to the cyclical turnover of high-level leadership positions in the executive branch,” according to the agency’s 2024 budget request.
Further, OGE’s building lease expires in February, and thought the agency said it is planning on maintaining a f a hybrid work environment where possible, there are still uncertainties surrounding the terms of the lease and the location, per the agency’s 2024 budget justification.
“Public trust in government is low, while public interest and overall demand for OGE’s work is high,” according to the document. “It is imperative that Congress invest in OGE – both its staff and technical resources – so that OGE can fully carry out its vital mission work of preventing conflicts of interest in the executive branch and ensuring that public service is a public trust.”
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.