POLITICS: White House

Nominating Larry Summers may require Obama skirting his own ethics rules --- again

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,White House,Timothy P. Carney,Barack Obama,Federal Reserve,Ethics,Analysis,Larry Summers

As recently as July, Larry Summers has been a paid consultant for Wall Street giant Citigroup. Liberal magazine Mother Jones posits that this could trip up his looming nomination to run the Federal Reserve Board.

After Obama took office in 2008, he enacted sweeping ethics rules that say that no presidential appointee can work on matters directly related to a former employer for two years after taking a government job. That means that unless Obama grants Summers an exemption from the rules — a move that could be politically controversial — the former Treasury secretary will have to recuse himself from a slew of Fed decisions involving Citi, which is the third-largest bank in America. Experts say those recusals could hamper Summers' ability to run the Fed effectively.

This is true. But MoJo and these experts ought not get too excited about Obama enforcing is own revolving-door rules.

After all, he's hired more than 100 lobbyists.

As HHS general counsel, Obama picked William Schultz, former lobbyist for the manufacturer of the morning-after contraception pill. Of course, HHS is currently defending a contraception mandate.

To help implement Obamacare, Obama hired drug lobbyist Chris Jennings — who may have deregistered as a lobbyist in 2009, but he never dropped his corporate clients or stopped meeting with White House healthcare policy staff.

Marc Patterson was a Goldman Sachs lobbyist until about nine months before he became chief of staff at the Treasury Department.

Mark Ernst was CEO at H&R Block, then Obama's IRS hired him to help write regulations on tax preparers -- regs that H&R Block endorsed.

I could go on, but you get the point. Summers will probably be okay by Obama.

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