APRIL 01, 2010
After repeatedly violating his own laughable ban on hiring lobbyists, President Obama used his recess-appointment power to sneak four more into top policy positions, bringing the total of lobbyists in key policy jobs to 50.
Obama’s affinity for hiring lobbyists—violating his own comical ethics rules in the process—has been well documented in the Corruption Chronicles (here, here and here) while the so-called mainstream media has largely ignored the issue to avoid criticizing the commander-in-chief.
A conservative daily, the Washington Examiner, broke this week’s scandalous story of the recess appointments of four additional federal lobbyists who will work in the same area they once represented in the private sector. In the piece, Examiner columnist Timothy P. Carney reveals that the president’s new top policy gurus recently lobbied for defense contractors and the agri-chemical industry, among others.
Obama’s new top agricultural official at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative lobbied for companies that make and sell agricultural pesticides and herbicides. His new Commerce Department guru lobbied on behalf of military giant Lockheed Martin and renowned fertilizer manufacturer Sun Chemicals. The president’s new U.S. representative to the World Trade Organization worked on behalf of agricultural interests and Time Warner and the latest member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was a lobbyist for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
The president already had dozens of prominent lobbyists working as White House officials or in high-ranking positions, despite his stern campaign promise that lobbyists “won’t find a job in my White House” and a highly touted executive order banning them from his administration.
Among the better known administration officials who lobbied on behalf of special interests are an attorney general (Eric Holder) who represented 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 Mexican extremist La Raza group.
In each case Obama issued an ethics waiver in the public’s interest, claiming that the candidates had unequalled qualifications. In exempting one group of lobbyists last spring, the White House reminded Americans that the president’s ethics rules are so stringent, it’s important to have reasonable exceptions in case of exigency or when the public’s interest so demands. So far there are 50 and counting.
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