|By Timothy P. Carney; Timothy P. Carney, Senior Political Correspondent|
If you don't understand why that's a laughable understatement, you should read McGrath's paper - or at least study Table 1 and Table 2, which list the lobbyists who entered the Obama administration and the administration officials who have cashed out to
McGrath's lobbyist count in the Obama administration is the most thorough count to date. If you ask Team Obama, they have hired zero lobbyist - Obama said in his 2010 State of the Union "we have excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs."
Politico reported last year that Obama had hired "more than a dozen" lobbyists. I compiled a list of 60 lobbyists in senior jobs. Turns out, I was giving Obama too much credit.
McGrath finds 119 former lobbyists in the Obama administration. The administration employs former in-house lobbyists from
How did so many lobbyists get in under Obama's supposed "lobbyist ban"? McGrath walks through the exceptions, technicalities, waivers, and apparent disregard for the rules.
Obama on his first day in office issued an executive order restricting former lobbyists from working in his administration.
But any lobbyist that hadn't been registered as such in two years was exempt from the rules. The two-year rule, for instance, is how former lobbyist
Even recent lobbyists are okay with Obama if their previous lobbying didn't relate to their government job.
A handful of lobbyists made it around Obama's rules by never registering as such.
But Cole never registered, so hiring him was fine.
Then a few lobbyists received explicit waivers from Obama's rules, such as
McGrath lists a few dozen lobbyists in two more categories, which are even murkier: "Former lobbyists appointed in apparent break of the spirit of Executive Order 13490" and "Former lobbyists with no waiver, who recused themselves from relevant policy issues or signed an ethics agreement related to the terms of EO 13490."
And that's only the incoming side of the revolving door. McGrath's Table 2 covers the more insidious direction: Those Obama officials who monetize their public service by becoming lobbyists. McGrath lists 37 Obama alumni now on
Fowler is not a registered lobbyist, highlighting another theme of McGrath's paper: Obama's rules have largely served to fuel unregistered lobbying. He writes "as lobbying is increasingly conducted by unregistered lobbyists, the disclosure system becomes increasingly less transparent."
Obama's "war on lobbyists" was an attempt to capture populist passion. It worked. Now, McGrath aptly concludes, Obama "must bear some responsibility for continuing levels of public cynicism and mistrust of politics, for having made promises he knew he couldn't keep."
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