Politics

White House Loses War with Washington’s Revolving Door

Obama campaign pledge falls flat

AP

President Barack Obama has failed to stop Washington’s revolving door despite his promise that lobbyists would not find a place in his White House, according to Politico.

Politico found that the Obama administration has hired 70 previously registered lobbyists to hold some of its most senior positions. The outlet also found was that "at least two dozen Obama administration veterans can be found all over town in advocacy, strategy or consulting gigs."

Some in the administration have even made their way from the private sector to the administration and back again.

Melody Barnes was a registered lobbyist at the Raben Group before she headed up the Domestic Policy Council for Obama. She’s back in the private sector, doing consulting at her own firm, Melody Barnes Solutions, and for the Albright Stonebridge Group.

James Kohlenberger headed up an industry coalition called Voice on the Net before joining the Office of Science and Technology Policy. He’s now at his own firm called JK Strategies. He’s not registered to lobby — he bills the firm as "public policy consulting practice." Sean Kennedy was an in-house lobbyist for AT&T before he went to work for the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He’s back on K Street, working for the airline industry’s primary trade group Airlines for America, or A4A.

Marc Berejka — a former registered lobbyist for Microsoft — dropped off the lobbying rolls to take a job in technology policy at the Commerce Department. After two years in government, he’s back as a registered lobbyist at the outdoor company REI, working as director of government and community affairs. Bradley Gillen was a registered lobbyist with DISH Network before he took a job as a legal adviser at the Federal Communications Commission. In July, he joined the wireless industry’s primary lobbying trade group CTIA.

The White House continues to insist that it has done more than any previous administration to stop the revolving door.

The White House insists that it has done more than any other administration to stem the tide of staffers cashing in on their government experience for private gain—including requiring staffers to sign an ethics pledge and making it more difficult for former lobbyists to enter the administration. […]

But the reality is that Obama, like his predecessors, has found it difficult to run the government without turning to lobbyists.