Lobbyists “a steady stream” at White House despite Obama pledge

posted at 12:41 pm on May 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when Barack Obama pledged to keep lobbyists from dictating outcomes in his administration?  Good times, good times.  It only took a fortnight for Obama’s promise to become a joke when Jake Tapper asked Robert Gibbs to produce the “waivers” for lobbyist appointees to Obama’s administration, which numbered in the dozens by early March.  The Washington Post follows up more than three years later and discovers that lobbyists are “a steady stream” in the White House visitor logs:

It was an unremarkable January day, with a steady stream of lobbyists among the thousands of daily visitors to the White House and the surrounding executive office buildings, according to a Washington Post analysis of visitor logs released by the administration. The Post matched visits with lobbying registrations and connected records in the visitor database to show who participated in the meetings, information now available in a search engine on the Post’s web site.

The visitor logs for Jan. 17 — one of the most recent days available — show that the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The records also suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access. …

“A lot of folks,” Obama said last month, “see the amounts of money that are being spent and the special interests that dominate and the lobbyists that always have access, and they say to themselves, maybe I don’t count.”

The White House visitor records make it clear that Obama’s senior officials are granting that access to some of K Street’s most influential representatives. In many cases, those lobbyists have long-standing connections to the president or his aides. Republican lobbyists coming to visit are rare, while Democratic lobbyists are common, whether they are representing corporate clients or liberal causes.

Some of these visitors are the usual suspects — lobbyists for unions, the ACLU, and so on.  But a great many more represent the very corporate interests that Obama blasted in 2008.  For instance, a lobbyist for Comcast and Taser International has been to the White House on 30 occasions.  Another lobbyist for the biotech industry has made two dozen visits.  A well-known liberal lobbyist has been to the White House 47 times, twenty more than Tony Podesta,  the lobbyist brother of former Obama aide John Podesta.  The spouse of former climate-change czar Carol Browner, Tom Downey, made 31 visits to the White House.  His firm represents Time Warner and Herbalife, among others.

Does that sound like a President who chased the lobbyists out of the government?  Or does it sound more like a President who just opened the doors for the moneychangers of choice?

Don’t get me wrong.  Lobbying is a legitimate profession, and in fact is explicitly protected by the First Amendment, which forbids Congress from passing a law infringing on the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Groups form on permanent or ad hoc bases to argue for policy choices.  Lobbying is only illegitimate when it involves illegitimate means.  However, Barack Obama set himself up as the scourge of lobbyists and demagogued on the subject incessantly during the 2008 campaign. As recently as last month, he posed himself as holier-than-thou on the subject.  This is a clear example of hypocrisy in action.  Kudos to the Washington Post for exposing it.


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“Does this effect me getting Obama money?” – the public

Electrongod on May 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Does this count the number of lobbyists who have met with WH officials outside the WH, to avoid getting on the register?

Ward Cleaver on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

yeah expiriation date part 3,421

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Do the lobbyists have their very own ATM or does obambi require a teller to be there?

VegasRick on May 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM

How can you tell President Jar-Jar Binks is lying?

A: His teleprompter is moving.

wildcat72 on May 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Hey! Ya gotta “pay” if your gonna “play”. Besides, it’s campaign season and Barry needs the money.

GarandFan on May 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Or does it sound more like a President who just opened the doors for the moneychangers of choice?

i’l take door #2 monty

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM

ANy number of opposite things happen “despite Obama pledge” – shocked, I tell ya. Not.

Only one I care about: his pledge regarding a second term.

His expiration date was before Nov. 2008.

IrishEyes on May 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM

“Those aren’t Lobbyists. Those are close personal friends.”

-Precedent Obama

portlandon on May 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Boehner’s Lobbyist Friends
The New York Times looks at House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-OH) “especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists” who have “contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns over the years, provided him rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed.”

“Some of the lobbyists readily acknowledge routinely seeking his office’s help — calling the congressman and his aides as often as several times a week — to advance their agenda in Washington. And in many cases, Mr. Boehner has helped them out.”

repvoter on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM

is this article right next to blaming Mitt for a 150 year mormon raid?

cmsinaz on May 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

…you lie…!!!

KOOLAID2 on May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

…dammit!…how many times do I have to tell you it’s Bushes fault!

KOOLAID2 on May 21, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Just HOW pray tell are you going to get skin in the GAME without WH and O’s access?

Pay to play…revolving non-transparent door.

ActinUpinTexas on May 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Boehner’s Lobbyist Friends

repvoter on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Wasn’t aware Boehner was President, much less a President who promised no lobbying.

Del Dolemonte on May 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Boehner’s Lobbyist Friends
repvoter on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM

The Soros Monkey anthem:
“When you got nothin’ ,try to change the subject.”

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 21, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Hey, Washington Post, the real story is the one topic Obama hasn’t lied about.

When you find it, let us know. It’ll be quite a scoop.

AZCoyote on May 21, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Look over there, a bright shiny object. The Won is a liar, in other news the sun will rise in the east tomorrow

skanter on May 21, 2012 at 1:10 PM

repvoter on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM

So Obama is no better than an evil Rethuglikkkan who wants women, children and the sick to die in the streets?

gwelf on May 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM

There’s only one lobby the radical and academic left worry about.

Ben Hur on May 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM

“You lie” was the truest thing ever told about Obama.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM

O, the anti-religious hypocrite. The anti-business anti-energy carrier of the “new morality.”

anotherJoe on May 21, 2012 at 1:21 PM

HEY!

Boehner’s Lobbyist Friends
The New York Times looks at House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-OH) “especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists”

…AZZWIPE!

repvoter on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 PM

….THIS IS THE TOPIC!

Lobbyists “a steady stream” at White House despite Obama pledge

…go reincarnate yourself!

KOOLAID2 on May 21, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Reminds me of that revolving door ad…

Eren on May 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM

“You lie” was the truest thing ever told about Obama.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM

And that ain’t no lie…

Dopenstrange on May 21, 2012 at 1:40 PM

I thought Sean Penn’s Headline last night “Pay the F*** up” was about lobbyists writing checks to Obama.

countrybumpkin on May 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Hey, if you want a czar position in this administration you have to start somewhere.

antipc on May 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

They were all Bush’s lobbyists…

right2bright on May 21, 2012 at 3:20 PM

What? Obama lied? He’s really not what he said he was or is doing what he said he’d do in 2008? He’s really the opposite of the picture he painted of himself in 2008?

Can’t be!

but…but….he’s the messiah…..lobbyists were banished to the 7th circle of hell, corruption has vanished, waters receded, lions sleep with lambs, and it rains skittles and unicorns every day now right?….what? No?

Wolfmoon on May 21, 2012 at 3:30 PM

The enemy isn’t the President. I know that seems wrong to say, but it’s true. He is doing and being what he has always done and been.

The enemy isn’t the lobbyists. They operate on the principle (I know, I know, principle and lobbyist don’t belong that close together) that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and Obama makes a way for them to do what they are paid to do.

The enemy is the media who choose which lobbyist story to scream from the rooftops, as though ALL lobbying were pure, concentrated evil, and which lobbyist story to ignore.

Never forget who is the real enemy of American liberty. A socialist President cannot accomplish a fundamental transformation of the governance of this nation if all that he plans and does are made known by an impartial media.

Sadly, the next most significant contributor to the creeping success of the Marxist socialism coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Av. is the “establishment” GOP, whom are almost uniformly and properly described as socialist-lite.

Freelancer on May 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM

“A lot of folks,” Obama said last month, “see the amounts of money that are being spent and the special interests that dominate and the lobbyists that always have access, and they say to themselves, maybe I don’t count.”

And those people would be absolutely correct. As far as politicians care, the average Joe doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

gravityman on May 21, 2012 at 5:12 PM

What? You expected truth from those purple, dog-eating lips?

kbTexan on May 21, 2012 at 11:29 PM