Diary

Lobbyists Galore

Only yesterday, I put down my very public wager that soon, despite promises to the contrary, we would see Barack Obama rely on lobbyists to help with his transition and his Administration. And now . . . well . . . look at this:

President-elect Barack Obama has imposed stricter conflict-of-interest restrictions on his White House transition team than any president before him. But a list of transition team members that his office made public on Friday includes a complicated tangle of ties to private influence-seekers.

Among the full roster of about 150 staff members being assigned to government agencies between now and Inauguration Day are dozens of former lobbyists and some who were registered as recently as this year. Many more are executives and partners at firms that pay lobbyists, and former government officials who work as consultants or advisers to those seeking influence.

After campaigning on promises to end the influence of lobbyists in the White House, Mr. Obama has imposed rules that bar officials on his transition team from handling any issues in areas of policy where they have lobbied over the last 12 months or from seeking to influence the same agencies for the next 12 months.

Read the whole thing. Then raise your hand if you actually believe that the bar indicated in that last paragraph will be insurmountable. Does anyone actually think that some lobbyists who specializes in Issue A but was hired to deal with Issue B will not find a way to make his/her expertise in Issue A available to the people working on Issue A? The hysterical thing about the story is that the transition’s executive director, who is the only one empowered to make exceptions to the lobbying rules, is himself potentially conflicted.

Change We Can Believe In, eh? Tell me another one. Oh, and by the way: Barack Obama is not the Messiah. He’s just another politician.