FEBRUARY 13, 2009
In yet another violation of Barack Obama’s “strict ethics rules” banning lobbyists from his administration, the U.S. Senate has confirmed a major defense industry lobbyist to be second in command at the Pentagon.
The nation’s new Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn, comes directly from the lucrative world of big time lobbying for the world’s largest missile manufacturer, Maryland-based Raytheon Co. Incidentally, Raytheon happens to be one of the Pentagon’s biggest missile suppliers thanks greatly to Lynn’s efforts.
Up until a few months ago, Lynn was Raytheon’s senior vice president for government operations and strategy which means he was dedicated to lobbying the agency he will now help lead. Lynn held the position for six years and will receive a Raytheon monthly pension of $4,300.
In his new position, Lynn will be the Pentagon’s top operations manager which means he has final approval authority on essentially all defense contract, budget and program decisions. Obama’s White House general counsel (Gregory Craig of Bill Clinton fame) said “exigent circumstances relating to national security” led the administration to give Lynn an ethics waiver.
A Republican senator who strongly opposed Lynn’s nomination and voted against confirming him said the Office of Governmental Ethics will have to set up a full-time department just to handle Lynn’s conflicts-of-interest waivers involving Raytheon.
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