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Obama Cracks Down on Lobbyists During Transition

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Posted on Nov 11, 2008
United States Senate

The buck stops here?: Obama’s pushing back against lobbyists during his transition into the White House.

We’ll see how long he’s able to keep this up, but at least for the immediate future, Barack Obama is aiming to keep lobbyists at bay, issuing strict guidelines for his transition team that Obama aide John Podesta described Tuesday on a conference call to reporters.

TPM Election Central:

• There will be strong restrictions against lobbyist involvement in the transition: Lobbyists can’t contribute or raise money to fund the transition; anybody who has worked as a lobbyist over the last 12 months can’t shape policy and will have to cease all lobbying during the transition; and any transition staffers who become lobbyists afterwards won’t be able to lobby the White House for 12 months.

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By Lindsay Parker, January 26, 2009 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve actually never been a ‘huge’ fan of
lobbyists but this doesn’t sit right with me.

So during this time he is taking complete
control and preventing anyone from saying
otherwise. Or trying to educate or persuade
or encourage anything other than what he is
doing and putting forth?That’s what it sounds
like to me. I didn’t vote for him because i didn’t
trust, i still don’t trust him.

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prole's avatar

By prole, November 12, 2008 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

How long indeed will Obama Copacabana be able to keep up the spin and spam that covers his unending duplicity and deceit? And how long will “illiterate” ‘progressives’ fall prey to it? Obama keep lobbyists at bay??!! That’s about as likely as Obama living up to John McCain’s flattering description of him as a socialist. Obama’s campaign thrived on lobby money and serving lobbyist interests from AIG to AIPAC. The lobby interests are so seamlessly intertwined with everything in the Obama program as to make the actual presence of high-profile lobbyists redundant. The fact that John Podesta, of all people, should be making such a token announcement - presumably with a straight face - is grimly amusing. The ultimate Washington insider - and former Clinton henchman - Podesta has been deeply involved in lobbying on energy and defense issues prior to hooking up with Obama. His brother Tony is still chairman of the Podesta Group, a big time lobby he co-founded with John in the 80’s. Tony’s wife (John’s sis-in-law) is ceo/founder of Heather Podesta & Partners, another lobby money machine with clients like Boeing, US Steel, Eli Lily, etc. In fact, half of Obama’s transition team were formerly lobbyists, including, Cassandra Butts, Patrick Gaspard,Mark Gitenstein,William Daley,Christopher Edley. The restrictions themselves are hardly “strong” as they apply only to lobbying in policy areas that someone was directly involved with in the transition, not in other policy areas. And then only for twelve months. Nor of course, does it apply to brothers, sisters-in-law, associates, etc. Worse still is the more influential presence of highly placed administration appointees. The first - and most ominous - of whom, Rahm Emanuel, is a long-time Washington fixer and former Clinton confidant, who has close ties both to AIPAC (where he once worked) and Wall St., where he also worked at Wasserstein Perella Co. in the Chicago office. In addition, Obama advisers - and Clinton cronies - like Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Dennis Ross, Anthony Lake, etec., etc. - many of whom can expect high-level appointments in the new regime - all have close ties to Wall St. or foreign policy lobbies. With “restrictions” like these, don’t expect Obama to “crack down” on Wall St. or AIPAC anytime in the next millenium.

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By hippy pam, November 12, 2008 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

I have seen several new PRESIDENTS take office during my lifetime…This one SEEMS TO BE ADDRESSING ISSUES BEFORE-not after- THE FACT…I am [cautiously] OPTIMISTIC….

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By RdV, November 12, 2008 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

“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”

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By RdV, November 12, 2008 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Interesting spin, since other sources suggest it as a “softening”.

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By Benjamin Tasker, November 12, 2008 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Yes - I voted Nader and I welcome “I told you so’s” from the Obama crowd - but only after his term. I won’t let myself be optimistic - but I will hope.

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By KDelphi, November 11, 2008 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

matti—I dont think it was that you werent told—I think that it was just not specific enough to trust. We have been so screwed in the past 8 years. But, I, like you, would be very pleased to see these developments last.

I did vote for him. But, not with much expectation.

Lets hope he surprises the hell out of us. It would be entirely worth it to have people say “I told you so”!

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By matti, November 11, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Immediate moves to address problems at the structural level?

I’m totally blown away.

The ready-for-inaguration-day review of federal agencies,  promise of independents(!!!) in not-just token positions, and annoncement of likely executive-order reversals are all -to me- fantastic and unexpected -by me- developments, in addition to the “lobbyist ban”.

If Obamites had told me that the Obama Administration would take on these structural problems so directly, publicly (at political risk), and speedily I would have voted for him.

Here’s hoping “independents” isn’t just code language for “Lieberman”.

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By KDelphi, November 11, 2008 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

I never thought that PE Obama was “not a good guy”, at least to the same extent that alot of senators are pretty good guys. He may be “better”.

And this is good news—very!! I will look to see it last.

There are still some things I would disagree with, but, it its always that way for me—I vote for Dems as the lesser of two evils. Obama may be better than most. Good.

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By Benjamin Tasker, November 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Let’s put some of our conspiracy theorizing skills to use in a more optimistic manner. Could it be that a genuinely GOOD guy has been elected? - one who has risen up thanks to his community organizing/grass roots skills but smart enough to infiltrate Washington by fooling corporatists into funding his campaign (which every politician knows they need corporate sponsorship to win) - Smart enough to appoint corporatist punks so people keep faith in the economy just enough to prevent it from collapsing and continue to hoodwink Wall St. only to throw them a side-winder.


I see stuff like this and it makes me wonder.

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By yours truly, November 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No Lobbyists During Or After The Transition

“Who instead?”

“Ordinary folks.”

“Based on?”

“Yes we can.”

“And then what sort of world?”

“Too good to be true.”

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