Friday, February 06, 2009

McCarthy on Obama's lobbyists

Changy isn't what we thought it would mean.

On Daschle:

Not every lobbyist is a lawyer—though some non-lawyers, such as Tom Daschle, manage to get themselves paid more than a million dollars a year by top law firms. For what? Certainly not for lobbying. At the well-connected firm of Alston and Bird, known in Washington parlance as a “lobbying firm” because it represents lots of lobbyists, Daschle was retained as a “special policy adviser.”

But if you are paid by the legal agents of lobbyists to instruct lobbyists in lobbying, aren’t you, in fact, a lobbyist? Especially considering the fact that the top asset you bring to the table is your Rolodex? Obama thinks not, since Daschle never legally registered as a lobbyist.

So, if you are lobbying, but not a registered "lobbyist", it doesn't matter that you are getting paid for, in effect, lobbying. Have we cleared everything up? Daschle's problem in the end wasn't that he was a non-registered lobbyist, but that he didn't pay taxes.

But what about the other lobbyists in the Obama administration (AKA the administration with the strongest ethical standards in History)?

The order provides that these very stringent rules can be ignored whenever the scrupulous interpreting authorities decide it is in the public interest. Don’t be alarmed: The administration says waivers will only be approved for extraordinarily qualified officials.

Have you ever heard of an administration that did not portray its appointees as extraordinarily qualified? Already we have the extraordinarily qualified William J. Lynn III, the nominee for deputy defense secretary, who got a waiver despite being, up until recently, a lobbyist for the military contractor Raytheon. William Corr will serve as the No. 2 official at the Department of Health and Human Services regardless of the last year he spent as a lobbyist. And then there’s Mark Patterson. He’s now chief of staff to Timothy Geithner, this ethics-obsessed administration’s tax-cheating Treasury secretary, even though Patterson used to be a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs—the outfit that could have patented the revolving door even before scoring $10 billion in TARP money.

Ehtical standards obviously doesn't include tax cheats or lobbyists anymore. CHANGE you can BELIEVE in.