Wednesday, September 2, 2009

President Obama Repeatedly Breaks Promise on Lobbyists

During the 2008 Democratic Party primaries, former Senator Hillary Clinton constantly chided her youthful opponent, famously stating that she would not need "on the job training." The future President's backers confidently stated that Obama's lack of experience was an advantage due to the fact that it isolated him from Washington culture.

However, with President Obama overseeing his first large-scale legislative defeat, there may be room for Hillary's interpretation.

Take for example the claim that the President's short time in the Senate shielded him from corruption and lobbyists. As far as lobbyists go, the President promised to significantly reduce their influence on the White House. Instead, this promise was broken within the first month of entering office. Dozens of lobbyists have entered into offices vated by Bush staffers and Obama seems will to appoint even more. Take, for example, the chief of staff for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Mark Patterson was an official lobbyist on behalf of Goldman Sachs until April 2008. In other words, he was hyping a company that helped set off the greatest financial collapse in thirty years. And the President has allowed him to give advice to the man meant to help reverse that collapse.

Is it any surprise that just last month President Obama appointed a lobbyist to one of the most powerful legal positions in the country? Neil MacBride was recently appointed as a federal attorney in the eastern district of Virginia. This is the man who may wind up prosecuting Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Do we really want a lobbyist in charge of this? Oh, and did I mention that he worked for Joe Biden earlier this decade? But it's okay, states the Obama Administration, because he stopped lobbying in 2007.

I'll write more on this subject later, particularly about corruption in a part two. Right now, though, I'm off to class.

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