Interior Department chief of staff being removed from post after indoor party fiasco

Senior government officials from Biden expressed reservations about the event, which was to be held at the Home Office library, and the White House stepped in before invitations could be sent.

A Biden administration official said that “the party was what broke the camel’s back” and that Van der Heide’s “final misjudgment” was Van der Heide’s part in her new job, which she started on January 20. The officer also said that the party planning sped up the job change that was in the works before the Kerfuffle. A White House official said it was always intended that Van der Heide would take on a different role after the department was established. Another administrative officer said that unspecified other issues hastened the move.

A White House official had asked Van der Heide to stop planning for the party before March 8, but she was still looking for food estimates after being told the party was not supposed to take place, one of them said Administrative officials.

Van der Heide will now be a senior advisor in the Home Office, and a White House spokesman said Lawrence Roberts, who was head of the Indian Affairs Department at the end of the Obama administration, will be the new chief of staff.

“Jennifer Van der Heide is an invaluable member of the Biden administration and the leadership of the Home Office,” said White House spokesman Vedant Patel. “She will continue to work in administration and Secretary Haaland as Senior Counselor within the department. Larry Roberts, who previously served under President Obama and has a thorough knowledge of the Home Office, will take on the role of Chief of Staff. “

Roberts, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, most recently was a special advisor to the law firm Jenner & Block and a professor of practice and executive director of the Indian Gambling and Tribal Self-Government Program at Arizona State University’s Law School. Early in his career, he worked for the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Van der Heide did not respond to a request for comment. An interior ministry spokesman declined to comment.

A White House official said these types of measures are not uncommon at the beginning of an administration as the president’s human resources office tries to ensure that those appointed play roles that best suit their agency, their agency director, the president, and the American public serve.

In 2015, the Office of Congressional Ethics announced that while Van der Heide was Chief of Staff to former Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), She appeared to have violated ethical guidelines that should separate government activities from campaigning activities The House Ethics Committee has in No action was taken on this matter. In August 2017, she became Senior Advisor on Haaland’s Congressional Campaign before becoming Chief of Staff of Haaland’s Congress.

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