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Treasury appointment makes it 4 Ricchettis in the Biden administration

Nestled in a recent press release from the Treasury Department announcing new staff appointments was a familiar name within the White House, the son of President Biden's counselor and longtime aide, Steve Ricchetti.

Why it matters: J.J. Ricchetti will serve as a special assistant in Treasury's Office of Legislative Affairs. He's now the fourth immediate family member working in the Biden administration.


  • Steve Ricchetti, a former lobbyist, has an office in the White House and regularly accompanies the president to Camp David and other destinations.
  • Daniel Ricchetti, his son, serves as senior adviser in the office of the undersecretary for arms control and international security at the State Department.
  • Shannon Ricchetti, his daughter, is deputy associate director of the Office of the Social Secretary at the White House.
  • The White House declined any on-the-record comment.

What they're saying: White House aides cite their backgrounds to argue they're qualified for the roles and have experience equal to their predecessors, in contrast to complaints about the Trump administration.

Between the lines: Daniel Ricchetti spent seven years working for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before moving to the State Department.

  • Shannon Ricchetti came to her position with years of research and event planning experience, including at the Aspen Institute.
  • And J.J. Ricchetti is a recent college graduate, as was an Obama administration holder of the same job in Treasury's Office of Legislative Affairs.

The big picture: Biden vowed to “restore and maintain public trust in government” by signing an executive order on ethics during his first day in office.

Flashback: On the campaign trail, Biden promised that no one in his family would hold a job in the White House or participate in a business relationship with a foreign government.

  • None of his direct family members serve in his administration.

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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