Obama’s Transition Team Full Of Lobbyists


How many times has Obama and hypocrisy been mentioned in the same breath on this blog? I can tell you its been hundreds, and now we get to utter the words together once again:

Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge to change Washington, vowing to upend the K Street lobbying culture he encountered when he joined the U.S. Senate.

But more than a dozen members of President-elect Obama’s fast-growing transition team have worked as federally registered lobbyists within the past four years. They include former lobbyists for the nation’s trial lawyers association, mortgage giant Fannie Mae, drug companies such as Amgen, high-tech firms such as Microsoft, labor unions and the liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress.

Mark Gitenstein, one of the 12 transition board members who will play a significant role in shaping the Obama administration, worked on million-dollar lobbying contracts with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and promoted legislation for giant defense contractors Boeing and General Dynamics. Until this fall, he was registered to petition Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of AT&T, Merrill Lynch, KPMG, Ernst & Young and others.

Gitenstein has blue-chip credentials for the volunteer role on the Obama team. He was chief Democratic counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee during confirmation hearings for controversial Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork; was a close adviser to Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s White House bid; and served as counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Oh the hypocrisy…remember these words?

“So one of the things that we’ve got to do is not just change the health-care system, but we’ve also got to change our political system. And that’s why I don’t take PAC money. I don’t take money from federal registered lobbyists, because I want to answer to you when I’m in the White House. I don’t want to answer to all these fat-cat lobbyists!”

He wants to answer to the American people instead of lobbyists you see….but then brings in major lobbyists to help shape his administration. Hell, the hypocrisy was evident in that statement above when he said he doesn’t take PAC money. Oh, he didn’t take it directly from lobbyists…instead he took it from their spouses:

The campaign has no problem accepting money from the spouses of Washington lobbyists. A database search conducted for this column by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign-finance issues, found that more than 20 spouses of prominent Washington lobbyists have donated to the Obama campaign, including the wives of Dan Glickman, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America; Norman Brownstein, a prominent Denver-based lawyer who has lobbied for Oracle, Toshiba, and Comcast; and Stuart Pape of Patton Boggs, Washington’s foremost lobbying firm, who has lobbied for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, and the Smokeless Tobacco Council.

The campaign accepts money from lobbyists registered in state capitals. It accepts money from partners at law firms that engage in lobbying. It accepts money from the C.E.O.’s, chairs, and officers of corporations, but not their lobbyists. Obama has received more than $627,000 in contributions from employees of Goldman Sachs, including, for example, $2,300 (the maximum contribution allowed) from the likes of managing director George Butcher. But Michael Berman, a registered lobbyist (and a former adviser to Walter Mondale), cannot give money to Obama because his firm, the Duberstein Group, has lobbied on behalf of Goldman Sachs on energy and tax issues. Aren’t such policies a little inconsistent with the ban? “Maybe,” said the senior Obama official. “But it’s important symbolism.”

His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Get ready folks. Hundreds of his promises will be broken in the months ahead.

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The idea that Obama could possibly avoid all contact with lobbyists was preposterous on its face.

This is yet another ridiculous campaign promise that for the most part went unchallenged, either by the media or John McCain.

“Change”, i think his running platform/message was referring to how often he “changes” his mind.

This is just the beginning of the rude awakenings that Americans can expect from this clown. A leapord can cover his spots with enough mud but he can not stay out of the water forever. This cat is going to show his true colors very quickly.

There is a list of members of the transition team available at the new sheriff’s website, change dot gov, and so far the backgrounds reviewed indicate no surprise as to Obama’s choices. One interesting resume’ included someone versed in the topic of mass atrocities. Hmmm, a little postwar crucifixion in the offing?

i agree that in politics you can not fully avoid lobbyists, but to pad your team with them is a slap in the face to most people. i know that in the true iuntent of the job there is a need for these creatures, but he obviously has always been in bed ith them. i am not surprised he has chosent hese people, they are who he chooses to alighn himself with. he owes many poeple many things, i am sure he has promised his first born and their first born to someone. he has lied sa many times you cannot keep track, at least with a lobbyist you know what to expect. with obama you never know, all you know is you are most likelly not going to like it.

And the media WILL NOT report on this.

He might have them on his transition team but he is now saying he won’t appoint any who have actively lobbied in the past two years to his staff positions.

More people are amazed of how many old time Clinton hacks are ending up with appointments.

Even Maureen Dowd says he said he was going to change from nearly 30 years of Clinton Bush but the list of appointed people read like yesterday’s news.

McCain found out the hard way that eliminating lobbyists from your staff is an impossible task.

The rules for the transiton team are no current current lobbyists and any one who has worked as a lobbyist in the past 12 months can only be used in fields unrelated to whatever it was they were lobbying for. There are additonal restriction placed on future lobbying after leaving the staff. The rules sound kinda lax, but they’re actually the strictest ever put into place.

So far there one person on the team reported as not meeting the guidelines.


As Fit fit said, Obama has put in place the most strict rules ever regarding lobbyists in a transition team, and you guys are still trying your hardest to find something to complain about. Maybe if you take something out of context, or twist his words just right, you can find some other perceived “hypocrisy”. Good job, guys. And I wonder why the “liberal media” won’t cover this? Maybe because it’s ridiculous. Just a thought.

This is almost on par with Limbaugh complaining about the Obamas taking separate planes, or the new President-elect daring to consider sending his kids to a private school. What’s next? Are you going to complaing about the dog they pick out too?

He’s right. As an Obama supporter, I still exercise healthy skepticism regarding his appointments, positions on issues, etc. The first 6 or 7 web topics regarding this issue discussed Obama’s unprecedented limitations on lobbyist influence.

It’s not perfect, I know. But that doesn’t give naysayers an excuse to assume the worst.