White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is working with the Harry Walker Agency to book speaking jobs after he leaves the administration in January, Politico reports.
"To avoid even the appearance of a conflict, we will let Josh know only the scheduling details of the engagement, and he will put it down firmly on his calendar," read an email from Vana Thayu, Harry Walker SVP, to prospective clients, obtained by Politico.
She added that Earnest's hosts and sponsors wouldn't be identified until he left the White House.
"When he leaves the administration, on that Saturday morning, we will send Josh the names of the hosting organizations, and he will at that time, barring any unforeseen objections, formally and officially accept. Once Josh formally accepts, you may begin marketing Josh as your speaker. Until then, the fact that he is holding this on his calendar must remain confidential."
Due to the speaking circuit's advanced scheduling, government officials use "bling booking" methods. According to the White House counsel's office, "[i]f a speakers bureau negotiates a speaking engagement for you but does not disclose to you the identity of the client, you will have no recusal obligation with respect to the unknown speaking client."
Earnest and Thayu declined to comment and did not respond, respectively, to Politico.
Salon reports that numerous former White House officials have moved on to lucrative careers on the speaking circuit, including former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
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