White House Meets With, Tells Off And Then Blogs About Lobbyists

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There is a gem of a blog post over at the White House website. Norm Eisen, the lawyer charged by President Obama to oversee and enforce ethics rules, has posted a blow-by-blow of his recent meeting with a group of lobbyists (and others) who are upset about the new White House policy that bars them from serving on federal advisory boards and commissions. (The message to other lobbyists: Think twice before you schedule a meeting at the White House; it has a blog.) In essence, Eisen explains why he told the lobbyists to their face that they’re participation in appointed government was bad for America:

We explained to the ITAC chairs that this issue is not about the few corrupt lobbyists or specific abuses by the profession, but rather concerns the system as a whole. For too long, lobbyists and those who can afford their services have held disproportionate influence over national policy making. The purpose of the President’s agenda to change the way business is done in Washington is to level the playing field to make sure that all Americans and not just those with access to money or power are able to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed by Washington.

In other words, them lobbyists got served–publicly. (I wonder how many meetings happened at the White House today that did not get blogged.) Eisen continues, describing the White House policy process:

In the end, we decided that while lobbyists have a right to petition the government, it would best serve the interests of a fairer and more representative democracy if we limited their ability to do so from special positions of privileged access within the government.

Kapow! To read the entire blog post see here. And consider the possible outcome next time you want to call up Eisen to ask dating advice. The guy sure does like transparency.

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