Washington Examiner: A White House tightly bound to lobbyists

Written by admin on September 13th, 2010

Washington Examiner to the White House:  Pot, meet kettle.  You’re both black.

Washington Examiner story here

Spokesmen in glass White Houses shouldn’t throw stones.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took such a liking to this weekend’s NY Times story on House Minority Leader John Boehner and his lobbyist friends that Gibbs has posted about it on Twitter four times, beginning with one saying, “Headline says it all…A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists.”

The story is worth reading, as is Byron York’s blog post on some interesting scuttlebutt about its original version making silly claims, but this White House is hardly in the position to chastise others for tight bonds to lobbyists.

Here are some of the strands of the Obama White House’s intense ties to lobbyists:

50 lobbyists in administration: Obama and his underlings have named at least 50 ex-lobbyists to senior administration officials. Some highlights of the Obama Lobbyist Lineup:

    • Four cabinet-level officials are ex-lobbyists (Panetta, Sebelius, Harkin, & Holder)
    • The IRS general counsel is a former lobbyist for the Swiss Bankers Association
    • Mark Patterson, former Goldman Sachs lobbyist, is chief of staff at Treasury, and he never received a waiver.
    • Obama’s top food safety guy (Michael Taylor) is a Monsanto lobbyist, and his top agriculture trade guy (Isi Siddiqui) is an agri-chem lobbyist.
    • Joe Biden’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff are both former corporate lobbyists with clients including oil companies and Fannie Mae.

The Podestas’ open door at the White House: Obama’s transition director was John Podesta, who co-founded a lobbying firm with his brother Tony Podesta. Tony and John still have some overlap in partners and issues. Also, Tony is a top fundraiser for Democrats, frequently visits the White House, and is chummy enough with the administration to get Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to attend his birthday party.

Ex-Google lobbyist in White House collaborates with current Google lobbyists on policy: Andrew McLaughlin, formerly a VP for public policy at Google, is the No. 2 tech policy guy in the White House. Then why was he using his GMail account to discuss policy with current Google lobbyists?

White House hides lobbyist visits by holding them at Caribou Coffee: Robert Gibbs wasn’t tweeting out this great New York Times expose.

The drug lobby wins with ObamaCare: Remember when Barack Obama wanted to “end the game-playing” in Washington, and he used drug lobbyist Billy Tauzin as the poster-boy for DC’s destructive revolving door. Then remember how, once he got in the White House, Obama cut a deal with Tauzin, and the final “reform” bill gave the drug industry what it wanted — and remember that the drug lobby spent more than any other industry? Yeah, that was kind of awkward.


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