SEPTEMBER 10, 2009
Further ridiculing his laughable ethics rules, Barack Obama has issued 10 additional waivers to hire lobbyists in violation of an executive order he proudly signed upon taking office.
The president’s latest ethics waivers give his administration a total of 16 prominent industry lobbyists who either work as White House officials or in high-ranking positions at federal agencies despite his stern campaign promise that lobbyists “won’t find a job in my White House” and highly touted order order banning them from his administration.
Among the registered lobbyists already working for Obama is an attorney general (Eric Holder) who lobbied on behalf of a bankrupt telecommunications firm, a deputy defense secretary (William Lynn) who lobbied for a major defense contractor and a director of intergovernmental affairs (Cecilia Munoz) who supervised all legislative and advocacy activities for a powerful La Raza group.
In each of those cases the White House claimed that “reasonable exceptions” were issued to the ethics rules in the public’s interest because the candidates had unequalled qualifications. The same compelling public interest argument was conveniently applied to exempt the latest batch of lobbyists.
In fact, Obama’s special counsel for ethics and government reform confirmed this week that each case was carefully reviewed and public interest in permitting the appointee’s participation outweighed other concerns. Could those so-called concerns have anything to do with cronyism, conflict of interest or perhaps even corruption?
Among the president’s new ethics waivers is an undersecretary of defense for technology and logistics who was recently a strategic consultant for a major defense contractor, an associate deputy secretary of labor who served as director of state government affairs for the nation’s largest labor union and a top NASA administrator who will work closely with two companies that recently employed him.
So much for Obama’s eloquent promise to make the White House the “people’s house” by closing the door that lets lobbyists come into government freely and lets them use their time in public service as a way to promote their own interests over the interests of the American people.
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