WH: Open Door Policy for lobbyist friends


Despite President Obama’s promises to bring a new political culture to Washington by restricting lobbyist access to the executive branch, lobbyists are still a regular presence at the White House.

A Washington Post investigation found the White House keeps it doors open and the welcome mat out for powerful lobbyists and friends:

The White House visitor records make it clear that Obama’s senior officials are granting that access to some of K Street’s most influential representatives. In many cases, those lobbyists have long-standing connections to the president or his aides. Republican lobbyists coming to visit are rare, while Democratic lobbyists are common, whether they are representing corporate clients or liberal causes. …

Many of the lobbyists who appear on the visitor logs are representing organizations that support administration policies. Bill Samuel, lobbyist for the AFL-CIO, for example, has been to the White House more than 50 times since Obama took office. The logs show he met four times with former White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley and three times with Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council. …

Tony Podesta, brother of former Obama aide John D. Podesta, has visited 27 times. And Robert Raben, who represents many liberal causes, has been 47 times.

But lesser-known names are also among the frequent lobbyist visitors, including Tim Hannegan, an informal adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign with clients such as Comcast and Taser International. He has been to the White House and executive buildings more than 30 times for social events or meetings.