"I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House," Penn told Entertainment Weekly. "I got to know the president and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there, so I'm going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison."
"They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations," Penn continued. "They're basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House. It's similar to what I was doing on the campaign."
The actor acknowledged that he would be taking a pay cut to take the job.
"There's not a lot of financial reward in these jobs," he said. "But, obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honor."
White House spokesman Shin Inouye confirmed to the Associated Press that Penn would join the White House staff. In addition to serving as a liason between arts groups and the administration, he will also work to connect the president to Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.
Penn's start date has not yet been set. His character on "House" apparently committed suicide in last night's episode.