Anti-Lobbyist Pledge Makes Its Way to Washington DC

Nov 11, 2008 7:02pm

1) They Won’t Work in My White House

"I have done more to take on lobbyists than any other candidate in this race — and I’ve won. I don’t take a dime of their money, and when I am President, they won’t find a job in my White House."

– Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.,

Democratic presidential candidate,

Spartanburg, SC, 11/3/07

2) They Won’t Run My White House

"I am the only candidate who can say that Washington lobbyists do not fund my campaign, they will not run my White House and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I’m president of the United States."

– Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.,

Democratic presidential nominee

Grand Junction, Colo., 9/15/08

3) They Won’t Work on My Transition On Matters Related to their Field of Expertise for the Past 12 Months

Statement from the Transition Team of President-Elect Obama:

"Obama Transition Co-Chair John Podesta announced the strictest, and most far reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history. The rules are:

"Federal Lobbyists cannot contribute financially to the transition.

"Federal lobbyists are prohibited from any lobbying during their work with the transition.

"If someone has lobbied in the last 12 months, they are prohibited from working in the fields of policy on which they lobbied.

"If someone becomes a lobbyist after working on the Transition, they are prohibited from lobbying the Administration for 12 months on matters on which they worked."


And yet, even with this devolution of sorts, matters in Washington DC are such that good government types are heralding these steps — since they are unprecedented, even in their limited fashion.

Statement of Thomas Mann, Brookings Institution: "The ethical guidelines released today for the Obama transition are tough and unequivocal. They will prevent some honorable people with rich experience from serving in the transition. That is a real cost but it is more than balanced by the strong signal sent by the President-elect. He aspires to attract to government able individuals whose highest priority is to serve the public interest. This is a very constructive step in that direction."

Statement of Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute: "Restoring trust in government is a prerequisite to enacting good policy and the tough choices the country needs. This ethics policy for the transition is a far-reaching, bold and constructive step to do just that. The policy may exclude some good people with deep experience in their fields, but it will also exclude those who see government service as a springboard to financial success, or who are more intent on pleasing future potential employers or clients than making tough choices in the public interest. As much as anything, this ethics policy is a statement about the tone and tenor of the Obama administration. It is a good sign."

Welcome to Washington!

– Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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