The Biden administration has waived ethics rules to allow a top Department of Homeland Security official to make policy in areas on which she lobbied for her former employer, Amnesty International.

Why it matters: The waiver is the first granted under Biden’s new ethics pledge, which allows the White House to shelve restrictions on former lobbyists in the administration if doing so is deemed in the national interest.

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What’s new: A memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget, dated Feb. 9 and released publicly on Friday, spelled out the rationale for waiving those rules for Charanya Krishnaswami, the senior counselor to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

  • The waiver applied to the portion of Biden’s ethics pledge governing former lobbyists’ work on specific policy issues. Krishnaswami will still be barred from participating in matters that could financially impact Amnesty itself.
  • “Without this waiver, the adjustments that would be necessary to maintain Ms. Krishnaswami’s recusal are anticipated to result in serious limitations and inefficiencies in the Department,” acting OMB director Robert Fairweather wrote.

Read more at Axios.