Obama Lifts Ban on Lobbyists! Back to Business as Usual

May 30th, 2009 10:54 AM

Roll Call is reporting that during the typical Friday afternoon document dump -- a practice used to hide actions that might prove somewhat embarrassing to the White House -- the administration quietly announced that some of the former restrictions on lobbying ballyhooed about during the late campaign have been lifted. And now, we have to wonder: will the media notice this sudden change? I mean, a whole day has gone by and so far only Roll Call has mentioned it.

In any case, let special interests ring, baby!

Roll Call (see here, but subscription is required) says that the administration lifted bans on lobbyists that have some part of spending "stimulus" funds. So now getting hooks into bloated federal spending is open season for the very lobbyists that Obama pretended to disdain only months ago.

So much for hopinchange.

The ban on oral communication now applies only to competitively bid applications on the stimulus package and it applies equally to lobbyists as well as non-lobbyists, according to a White House blog post written by ethics official Norm Eisen.

Additionally, the administration is still also pretending at "transparency" because one of the new rules is that there be "immediate internet disclosure" of this renewed contact that lobbyists are to have with federal agencies. Not that such a thing is anywhere near de rigueur at this point... but, um, you know how hard The One is working, right?

So why the reverse? According to Roll Call:

The decision to change the policy follows the 60-day review period that the Obama administration set for the Office of Management and Budget to review the new lobbying rules. Several watchdog groups and lobbying entities, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American League of Lobbyists and the AFL-CIO, raised concern over the recently imposed rules.

So, I guess the hopinchangieness wasn't as hopey and changie as it was once imagined? So, let this posting serve as a notice to the Old Media that they might wanna look into this little story.