In keeping with his campaign promise for ethics reform, President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team ramped up efforts to ensure a more “open and transparent” government. The team will be working to curb lobbyist influence in government affairs and as Obama preps for the White House, he’s starting with their influence in his dealings.
For starters, as the team led by Valerie Jarrett, John Podesta, and Pete Rouse, select people to help with the process of getting Obama into the White House employees who leave the team to work as lobbyist will be “prohibited from lobbying the administration for 12 months after stopping” their work with the transition team, Podesta said in a conference call today.
“We’re releasing the Obama-Biden transition ethics rules,” Podesta added, which will be available on Change.gov, the Obama-Biden transition team Web site. Lobbyists who join the team will be unable to work in the area for which they lobbied.
The entire transition effort will employ roughly 450 people and has a budget of $12 million. Congress will pay for $5.2 million and the transition team will raise the balance. Adding yet another layer of transparency, the team will list all donors on change.gov before Inauguration Day.
As for more additions to the Obama administration, Podesta said they are moving with “all due speed” in selecting a cabinet. Announcements about appointments will be made by Obama in the weeks to come.
OBAMA-BIDEN’S RULES FOR LOBBYISTS IN TRANSITION
— Federal Lobbyists cannot contribute financially to the transition.
— Federal lobbyists are prohibited from any lobbying during their work with the transition.
— If someone has lobbied in the last 12 months, they are prohibited from working in the fields of policy on which they lobbied.
— If someone becomes a lobbyist after working on the Transition, they are prohibited from lobbying the administration for 12 months on matters on which they worked.
— A gift ban that is aggressive in reducing the influence of special interests.
Renita Burns is the editorial assistant at BlackEnterprise.com