Friday, November 21st, 2014

Obama's lobbyist rule: Promise Broken

As a senator and a candidate, Obama was sharply critical of lobbyists and promised tougher ethics rules to deal with them.
As a senator and a candidate, Obama was sharply critical of lobbyists and promised tougher ethics rules to deal with them.

Of the 513 promises we're tracking, this one has become the most controversial. It is the cornerstone of President Obama's campaign theme about limiting the influence of special interests.

During the campaign, Obama said many times that lobbyists would not run his White House, and the campaign delighted in tweaking rival John McCain for the former lobbyists who worked on McCain's campaign.

Obama's ethics proposals specifically spelled out that former lobbyists would not be allowed to "work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years." On his first full day in office, Obama signed an executive order to that effect.

But the order has a loophole — a "waiver" clause that allows former lobbyists to serve. That waiver clause has been used at least three times, and in some cases, the administration allows former lobbyists to serve without a waiver.

After examining the administration's actions for the past two months, we have concluded that Obama has broken this promise. See Promise No. 240 for the full details.