One year from now, we have the chance to tell all those corporate lobbyists that the days of them setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race – and I’ve won. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House.
— Barack Obama
Newly installed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued new rules Tuesday restricting contacts with lobbyists – and then hired one to be his top aide.
Mark Patterson, a former advocate for Goldman Sachs, will serve as chief of staff to Geithner as the Treasury Department revamps the Wall Street bailout program that sent an infusion of cash to his former employer.
Patterson’s appointment marks the second time in President Barack Obama’s first week in office that the administration has had to explain how it’s complying with its own ethics rules as it hires a bevy of Washington insiders for administration jobs.
Uh, they have to explain only if you force them to.
To their credit, a Politico reporter did try to ask about the first violation of this pledge, during the lovefest that ensued when Obama visited the press room several days ago. The reporter was pointedly shot down by an irritated Obama.
We’ll see if the press stays on him. Pardon me if I have my doubts.
What is the defense, anyway? That the former lobbyist won’t be working “in” the White House?
Or maybe’s it’s just a calculation by Obama that he can say: to hell with my campaign promises when they’re inconvenient — and the press won’t say boo.