Washington Post:Lobbyists pushed off federal advisory panels

Written by admin on November 27th, 2009

The Washington Post examines how the Obama Administration’s rules for federal advisory panels are forcing participants who are also registered lobbyists off of the panels.

Story here via MSNBC.com:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34169108/ns/politics-washington_post/

The new policy — issued with little fanfare this fall by the White House ethics counsel — may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama, who also has sought to restrict the ability of lobbyists to get jobs in his administration and to negotiate over stimulus contracts.

The initiative is aimed at a system of advisory committees so vast that federal officials don’t have exact numbers for its size; the most recent estimates tally nearly 1,000 panels with total membership exceeding 60,000 people.

“Some folks have developed a comfortable Beltway perch sitting on these boards while at the same time working as lobbyists to influence the government,” said White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen, who disclosed the policy in a September blog posting on the White House Web site. “That is just the kind of special interest access that the president objects to.”

But lobbyists and many of the businesses they represent say K Street is being unfairly demonized by a White House intent on scoring political points with scandal-weary voters. They warn that the latest policy will severely handicap federal regulators, who rely heavily on advisory boards for technical advice and to serve as liaisons between government and industry.

The Best Government Money Can Buy? is a non partisan documentary film about the links between lobbying and campaign finance.

 

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