In assembling his team, President Obama has been staunch in his public statements that lobbyists would not find a revolving door from their private sector work into his administration.
His administration? Not quite as staunch. Spokesman Robert Gibbs has already admitted that there may be “reasonable exceptions” to the no-lobbyist rule for folks like Bill Lynn (who was a lobbyist for a defense contractor before being named to the #2 spot in the Department of Defense) and Bill Corr (the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services who used to lobby the department of Health and Human Services). Gibbs claimed that each could assume their positions under waivers to the ethics rules.
Instead of the political grandstanding with sweeping regulations he didn’t intend to follow anyway, President Obama should have pursued a different strategy that he has been claiming all along: transparency. A simple index of any previous lobbying activity by any member of the Administration – available online – would have allowed our new President a chance to make a statement against DC influence peddling without looking like a hypocrite.