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January 22, 2009

Day One: Obama Bans Lobbyists from Serving in His Administration. Day Two: Obama Issues First Exemption from His Ban

Hope and change, in less than 24 hours! For Raytheon lobbyist William J. Lynn III, who Obama wants to be his Deputy Defense Secretary.

The pertinent clause:

"3. Revolving Door Ban Lobbyists Entering Government. If I was a registered lobbyist within the 2 years before the date of my appointment, in addition to abiding by the limitations of paragraph 2, I will not for a period of 2 years after the date of my appointment:

(a) participate in any particular matter on which I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment;

(b) participate in the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls; or

Frank James points out the problem in these sort of high-minded, well-intentioned prohibitions from possible conflicts of interest: the people who are best qualified to do the job are so qualified because they've actually made a career out of the subject matter at hand. Raytheon is a BEEEG defense company, and the list of defense-related shit they do is pretty danged long.

So what does a Deputy Defense Secretary do if he can't be involved in decisions about "acquisitions policy, force protection, space and intelligence, command and control, simulation and training, missile defense, sensors and radars, and munitions and artillery"?

Easy. He gets a waiver from Captain Commander-in-Chief Bullshit and does his job.

I have no real problem with Mr. Lynn doing the job - actually I kinda like the idea of having a grownup in the position who kinda knows something about what he's doing. And I can even go along with the "post-service" constraint; working in the Administration shouldn't be a greased skid for profiting later from the connections you were granted as part of the govmint job (even though they often do). Ideally a guy who's in a position to influence decisions in favor of his old employer would agree to a little oversight and accountability while working in the DoD.

But then that's the problem with noble-sounding bullshit.

tipped by Gabe.


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posted by Dave In Texas at 01:09 PM

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