Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
Faced with hiring a new administration, President-elect Barack Obama is learning how hard it is to keep his promise to avoid aides who have been entangled with the capital's lobbying scene.
An Associated Press review of more than 400 members of Obama's transition team identified at least 34 who have registered in recent years to lobby government officials on behalf of clients or employers ó some as recently as this summer. The AP's review represents the most comprehensive examination to date of people working on Obama's incoming administration.
An Obama adviser on immigration issues, Maria Echaveste, lobbied for the United Farm Workers this year to protect immigrant agricultural workers as the Bush administration sought to ease hiring of seasonal farm labor and Congress debated an immigration overhaul. Echaveste, who worked in the White House and Labor Department under President Bill Clinton, assured Obama she will not weigh in on the farmworker visa issue that was her lobbying focus.
_An Obama transition adviser for health and human services, Bill Corr, lobbied to prevent children from smoking as executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The group has spent $675,000 this year trying to influence policymakers. Corr has told Obama he will not offer advice on tobacco issues.
_A transition advisory board member, Mark Gitenstein, was registered until August to lobby on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AT&T Inc. and financial firms such as Ernst & Young LLP and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. Gitenstein is working on transition management issues, not specific policies, but has agreed not to deal with topics on which he lobbied.
Despite Obama's efforts to insulate his new administration from what might be tainted advice, lobbyists' involvement in the new government warrants close scrutiny, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan institute that studies the influence business.
"They are taking a risk by taking these people on board," Krumholz said. "If they're viewed as being in the pocket of industry, that is not going to be beneficial to this administration that is trying so hard to claim a new mantle."
note: These are only a few mentioned in the article. The rest can be found here..
So, along with Daschle and Clinton, the list is growing of appointed people promising not to do what they have been doing for years. The question still is...if they have to promise to be good and change, why were they appointed?