Opinion

Obama's revolving door: A busy entrance and exit

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Under President Obama, the revolving door is spinning just fine as both an exit and an entrance.

The Department of Defense on Friday hired the lobbying chief from BAE, a top-20 defense contractor. DOD reports:

Iram A. Ali, appointed to the Senior Executive Service and assigned as special assistant to the secretary of defense for White House Liaison, Immediate Office of the Secretary, Washington, D.C. Ali previously served as director of government relations, BAE Systems Inc.

This recalls the first waiver Obama issued for his lobbying rules: the hiring of Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn as deputy Defense secretary. Unlike Lynn, Ali was not registered as a lobbyist, merely supervised BAE's lobbying operation.

As far as the revolving door as an exit, Bloomberg has a good story:

The Obama administration is breeding new power players for Washington’s influence industry. Just don’t call them lobbyists.

Five years after President Barack Obama issued an executive order barring appointees from lobbying the executive branch for the rest of his presidency, administration officials are increasingly departing to join the advocacy industry.

The new twist: Many aren’t registering as lobbyists, acting instead as “strategic consultants” and “policy advisers.”

The Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group, … counts among the officials who have left the executive branch under Obama at least 86 “unlobbyists,” which it defines as people not registered as lobbyists who work for business units devoted to influencing government policy. The list is culled from media reports, press releases and directories and probably understates the number, Bryner said. Another 46 are registered lobbyists.

So much for stopping that revolving door.

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