On the campaign trail, now President Obama regularly excoriated lobbyists. He said he’d make the government “open and transparent” and said he’d make it hard for lobbyists to “curry favor” with his administration “based on how much they can spend on a fancy dinner.” Once elected, John Podesta, a member of his transition team, said that Obama would be implementing the “strictest ethics rules ever applied” to those scoundrel lobbyists. In his 2009 State of the Union address Obama puffed up his chest, proud of himself that he “excluded lobbyists” from important jobs in his administration.
With all that bombast and populist wind from Obama and his cohorts, then, one would expect to see a dearth of lobbyists in important positions in Obama’s Washington. One’s expectation, however, would easily be dashed by the truth.
Remember the rarefied air of Obama’s campaign for president? Wanna see some, shall we say, “broken promises”?
Transcript of Obama campaign appearance: (My bold for emphasis)
I’ll also institute an absolute gift ban so that no registered lobbyist can curry favor with members of my administration based on how much they can spend on a fancy dinner. I’ll make our government open and transparent so that anyone can ensure that our business is the people’s business. Justice Louis Brandeis once said “Sunlight is the greatest disinfectant,” and as president I am going to make it impossible for congressmen or lobbyists to slip pork barrel projects or corporate welfare into laws when no one’s looking because when I’m president meetings where laws are written will be more open to the public… no more secrecy, that’s a commitment I make to you as president. No more secrecy!
And, when there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you the public will have five days to look on-line and find out what’s in it before I sign it so that you know what your government’s doing. When there are meetings between lobbyists and a government agency we’ll put as many as pos… as many of those meetings as possible on-line for every American to watch. When there’s a tax bill being debated in Congress you will now the names of the corporations that would benefit and how much money they would get. And we will put every corporate tax break and every pork barrel project on-line for every American to see, you will know who asked for them and you can decide whether your representative is actually representing you!
Oh, the dreamy dream of hope-n-change. It’s what you voted for, America. So did we get it?
Not even close.
In fact, at least 50 some lobbyists have won the Obama lottery and found themselves landing plumb jobs in the Obama administration. All sorts of Obama’s favorite special interests have found their lobbyists suddenly riding the gravy train. From Big Agriculture, to Big Financial and Big Banking, to Trial Lawyers, to Military, Communications, and Big Bio, Obama’s buddies have lined up around the block to get his favor and found the honey pot well supplied.
Alarmingly, though, the biggest winners seem to be lobbyists from ideologically left-wing think tanks and issue advocacy groups.
Here are some of the known lobbyists that have hit the Obama jackpot:
Barnes, Melody: ACLU; Center for Reproductive Rights
Jacquelin: NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Butts, Cassandra: Center for American Progress
Coven, Martha: Center on Budget & Policy Priorities
Crowley, Phillip J: Center for American Progress
Frye, Jocelyn: Nat’l Partnership for Women & Families
Corr, William: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
McDonough, Dennis: Center for American Progress
Munoz, Cecilia: National Council of La Raza
Perciasepe, Robert: National Audubon Society
Rundlet, Peter: Center for American Progress
Stoner, Nancy: Natural Resources Defense Council
Trasvina, John: Mexican American Legal Defense Fund
Stein, Eric: Center for Responsible Lending
Douglas, Derek: Center for American Progress
Beliveau, Emmett: PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Worldwide Medical Technologies; Shaw Group
Donilon, Thomas: Fannie Mae
Klain, Ron: Time Warner; Fannie Mae
Patterson, Mark: Goldman Sachs
Turton, Dan: Freddie Mac; Visa
Singiser, Dana: Insurance
Wilkins, William J.: Swiss Bankers Association
Sutphen, Mona: Angliss Int’l
Hayes, David: Sempra Energy; San Diego Gas & Electric; General Cigar Holdings
Eric L. Hirschhorn: Lockheed Martin; Sun Chemicals
Hoffman, Alan: RAND Corporation, Unocal
Holder, Eric: Global Crossing; Large Scale Biology Corporation
Lynn, William J.: Raytheon
Strickland, Thomas: Amgen
Harris, Scott: Microsoft; Cisco; Dell; Sprint
Kennedy, Sean: AT&T
Marantis, Demetrios J.: Lucent Technologies
Punke, Michael: Time Warner
Sapiro, Miriam: VeriSign
Gaspard, Patrick: American Federation of Teachers
Liebowitz, Jon: Motion Picture Association of America
Vilsack, Thomas: National Education Association
Harden, Krysta: Gordley Associates
Isi Siddiqui: CropLife America
Taylor, Michael: Monsanto
Sher, Susan: University of Chicago Hospitals
Sussman, Robert M.: Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Navistar, Business Roundtable
Sebelius, Kathleen: Kansas Trial Lawyers Association
Strautmanis, Michael: Association of Trial Lawyers of America
Litt, Robert: Recording Industry Association of America
Varney, Christine: Hogan & Hartson
Panetta, Leon: Seismic Safety Coalition
Perrelli, Thomas J.: American Survivors of 8/7/98 Bombings of Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
Poneman, Daniel: Payless Shoe Source
Verma, Richard: Cigna; National Association of Convenience Stores; U.S.-India Business Council
Timothy P. Carney of the Washington Examiner has been Keeping a list of the lobbyists that have won the Obama Lottery and he has some rich details of from which firms they’ve come and what clients were represented.
So much for being post partisan, non-ideological, transparent…. all those bight and shiny hope-n-changie sort of things Obama told us all he’d force Washington to observe.
Looks to me like it is business as usual with Obama’s Washington.