While campaigning in 2008, President Obama pledged that lobbyists “will not run my White House.” But as Dana Milbank at the Washington Post writes, this week he brought in “one of this town’s most prominent lobbyists to run his White House — or at least a nice piece of it.”
The administration has brought in Steve Ricchetti, who has lobbied for everyone from Fannie Mae to General Motors. Even though Obama has banned lobbyists from his administration, many still get in via various loopholes:
Just as Obama won the presidency, Ricchetti de-registered as a lobbyist for his various clients. But he remained president of the lobbying firm that continued to work for many of those same clients, as well as a few more, such as the American Bankers Association.
Only in today’s Washington could a president circumvent his own ban on hiring lobbyists by hiring the head of a lobbying firm.
Obama’s policy is awkward and unrealistic, excluding the “good” type of lobbyists, while allowing guys like Ricchetti in. As Milbank explains, “it makes a joke of the spirit of reform [Obama] promised.”
The Washington Post: Settling in to Washington’s ways