Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is some of that change

It’s almost impossible to convey how huge this development is, and how important: The Obama Administration doesn't want federally-registered lobbyists appointed to agency advisory boards and commissions.

While the president doesn’t make such appointments (the agencies themselves do), they’re incredibly important in providing advice on public policy. If lobbyists are on the boards and commissions, they can help shape that advice—and so, public policy—to the advantage of their clients, all without any democratically-elected oversight. Barring them will mean that public policy may start to reflect the desires of the elected government, and not the business elites.

The president has been moving to both open up government and shut-out the influence peddlers. He issued Executive Order 13490, which bars any Presidential appointees who have been federally-registered lobbyists within the past two years from working on particular matters or in the specific areas in which they lobbied or from serving in agencies they had lobbied.

That Executive Order doesn’t apply to the agency boards and commissions, but this move is designed to ensure that the spirit of it does. The Washington Post said this “may turn out to be the most far-reaching lobbying rule change so far from President Obama”, and they’re probably right, as hundreds or even thousands of lobbyists are booted off these advisory bodies.

President Obama has said that he wants to change the way business is done in Washington, and this is an example of delivering on that promise. This, then, is some that change we can believe in.

1 comment:

Dennis said...


Are you familiar with Joe Bageant? He's written a book called "Deer Hunting with Jesus" (an unlikely title, I know!) which is an amazing read. He gets right down into why the working class poor in the U.S. tend to support conservative politics - which are not in their best interests. I'm half way through it now and I highly recommend it.


Dennis Gallagher