“Everyone will acknowledge that we have set up the highest standards ever for lobbyists not working in the administration,” Obama said at a recent press conference[A1] , trying to close the revolving door between government officials and lobbyists.
Despite that pledge, Obama has appointed Bill Lynn, a former defense industry lobbyist at Raytheon -- one of the nation’s largest military contractors -- for Deputy Defense Secretary (confirmed [A2] 93-4), a position described as "central manager of the internal workings of the Defense Department” by former Pentagon military analyst Franklin “Chuck” Spinny.
The "Revolving Door Ban" that Obama signed as an executive order soon after his inauguration prohibits lobbyists from serving in government for two years, which would make Lynn ineligible for the post until 2011.
However, Lynn has been granted a special waiver by the administration based on “circumstances relating to national security,” an Office of Management and Budget official told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IOWA).
Testifying in Senate, Grassley criticized the nomination by pointing to Lynn’s role as Chief Financial Officer at the Pentagon under the Clinton administration, during which time “he advocated very questionable accounting practices that were not in the public interest.”
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, decried the repeated appointments of lobbyists, saying, “they say they have a policy of no lobbyists, and yet every day we hear about a new lobbyist." A White House spokesman responded[A3] that “even the toughest rules require reasonable exceptions.”