On Tuesday, August 12, Politico’s Byron Tau reported how the Obama White House is planning to “reverse a key part of its ban on registered lobbyists serving in government.”
Despite yet another major flip-flop from the Obama Administration regarding its relationship with lobbyists, none of the “big three” networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) covered the story on their Tuesday evening newscasts.
From the Politico report:
The Office of Management and Budget will release a new rule on Wednesday expected to allow registered lobbyists to participate in policymaking deliberations in an advisory role after a judge ruled against the administration earlier this year.
Lobbyists for corporations and industry groups will now be allowed to serve on more than 1,000 industry boards, panels and commissions that give the private sector an advisory role in decision-making across the executive branch, according to a copy of the rule published on the Federal Register site.
The new rule affects a policy implemented in June 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s ethics package, but keeps some of the ban in place. Lobbyists will be allowed to serve only on commissions and boards in a “representative” capacity — so long as they’re acting on behalf of a corporation, trade association or industry group and not as private citizens or representatives of the government.
The reversal comes amid ongoing debate over the effectiveness of Obama’s efforts to end K Street’s influence on policymaking. A POLITICO count published Tuesday shows that despite restrictions on lobbyists serving in government about 70 corporate, for-hire or association lobbyists have all joined the Obama administration.
Rather than cover the Obama Administration’s reversal on its so-called lobbying ban, both ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer and the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley had time to gush over panda triplets born through artificial breeding. NBC Nightly News played up a video of a Chicago Cubs fan catching a home run during a game on Monday night.
The decision from the Obama Administration to change its position on hiring lobbyists is nothing new as PolitiFact documented in March of 2009:
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.