[Guest post by DRJ]
Now that he’s President-elect and filling the rosters of his Administration, Obama has backed off his promise to exclude lobbyists from government and lobbyists are back in:
“Despite campaign trail promises that special interests wouldn’t be a part of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama’s has sent signals to the lobbyists that they can get jobs with him.
The Obama policy, which appears to be evolving, would prevent lobbyists from taking administration jobs in the same areas they had advocated for in their private practices.
And, once leaving the administration, they would face a longer “cooling off” periods during which they could not lobby their former administrative colleagues.
But the overall message to the lobbying community appears to run counter to the Democratic senator’s campaign promise to keep special interest advocates at arms length.”
Obama was also inconsistent regarding lobbyists during his campaign. Not only did he vastly overstate the extent to which McCain was tied to lobbyists but he also claimed that he would not take lobbyist contributions when he did (see here and here). And despite claims to the contrary, he also worked with lobbyists to promote clients’ interests as a Senator.
I’ve decided Obama embraces a nuanced version of truth. There are the simple truths he tells the public that are often followed by changes that undermine those truths, changes he adds over time. People accept the changes because they are spoon-fed in small bites, but at some point they will realize they’ve been promised steak but are eating tofu.
UPDATE: Right on cue, John Podesta announces Obama’s updated lobbyist rules — No lobbying on the transition team:
“According to John Podesta, a top transition aide, federal lobbyists will be prohibited from any lobbying while they are at work on the transition.
Also, if anyone involved in the transition later becomes a lobbyist, they would not be able to lobby the new administration for one year on matters on which they worked for the president-elect.
The rules also stipulate that federal lobbyists may not contribute financially to the transition.”