Posted by Jerrod @ 10:53 pm on January 25th 2009

Exempting lobbyists from the new code of ethics scuffs the sheen a little bit

First it was this, from the campaign trail:

“I am running to tell the lobbyists in Washington that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. They won’t work in my White House.” via CNN

Then it was this, in the Oval Office:

As of today, lobbyists will be subject to stricter limits than under any other administration in history. If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years.

And now it is this:

Senate consideration of President Obama’s choice for the Pentagon’s No. 2 job will be allowed to proceed after the Armed Services Committee chairman said that an ethics waiver would be granted to the nominee, William J. Lynn III, who was a registered lobbyist for a military contractor. Without a waiver, those provisions would appear to preclude Mr. Lynn’s acting on many significant issues. With the waiver, Mr. Levin said, the Senate can act on the nomination. He also emphasized that the committee would continue to insist that Mr. Lynn comply with ethics rules that would require him to recuse himself for one year from decisions involving his prior employer, Raytheon, unless specifically authorized to participate.

How is the No. 2 job at the Pentagon going to avoid dealing with Raytheon? Sure, I’m forgiving of campaign rhetoric and the Pentagon isn’t the White House. There are just too many people who get a check as a lobbyist for it to be possible to avoid employing them. I don’t know the specifics of this choice and why Obama wants him (it appears that it was Gates who wants him, but I find it hard to believe that Lynn is the only person qualified for this job. Let him sit out two years and try again. If someone really had faith in Obama, they would have quit their lobbying positions a year ago and would be halfway to qualified. It would be easier to make exceptions in those cases as well.

As Coleman Parker says, “They always disappoint.”


  1. The Emperor has no clothes. It didn’t take long and I knew it wouldn’t. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    Comment by ScottKnight — 1/26/2009 @ 12:06 am

  2. 9:30 is the point where he makes the promise about no lobbyists but the whole speech is full of promises.

    Comment by Jerrod — 1/26/2009 @ 12:24 am

  3. As someone who doesn’t care much for lobbyists one way or another, this doesn’t bother me all that much. I do understand, however, that the combination of moral preening on the issue on the one hand and the hiring of a Raytheon lobbyist on another is somewhat galling.

    If forced to make a choice, I’d rather he’d abandoned the preening.

    Comment by Rojas — 1/26/2009 @ 12:32 am

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