You are here

Some Interests Are More Special Than Others

The current administration long ago decided to elevate the executive branch of government to a new level of purity by not allowing former lobbyists to hold senior appointed positions. We wouldn't want anyone who had ever been affiliated with a for-profit company or DC pressure group to be holding the levers of power in Washington, right? Of course not. Unless, that is, someone decides that the person in question is really a great guy and we should make an exception for him (or her). As it turns out, there are a lot of exceptions in Washington these days. Our old friend Tim Carney elaborates:
Washington lobbyist Christine Varney is poised to take her third pass through the revolving door of lobbying and government with her nomination by President Barack Obama to be his administration’s top antitrust enforcer. Also, on Thursday, Obama nominated Derek Douglas, a former lobbyist for the O’Melveny & Myers law firm and Center for American Progress, as special assistant on urban affairs. As with most of the at least 14 former lobbyists nominated or hired by Obama, Varney and Douglas appear to be not covered by his executive order restricting the official activities of former lobbyists.
So apparently it's not a categorical imperative to keep former lobbyists out of the administration. Which begs the question, why have the rule in the first place?