Democratic Dirty Laundry: Obama Continues to Play Washington Politics with K Street Lobbyists

June 9, 2010

Obama Continues to Play Washington Politics with K Street Lobbyists
Despite Public Lashings, Obama’s Doors are Always Open to his K Street Friends

SPIN CYCLE: President Obama Promised to Exclude Washington Lobbyists from the Debate

“To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.

“That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.” (Remarks by the president, 1/27/2010,, 6/09/2010)

RINSE CYCLE: Bashes Lobbyists Publicly, but Continues to Extend Private Invitations

President Barack Obama has publicly railed against Wall Street lobbyists for months, even going to Manhattan to ask their corporate masters to call off the attack dogs.

Privately, though, his administration invited some of the same lobbyists to join an exclusive conference call with top White House officials. And that has some lobbyists and government watchdog groups accusing Obama, who promised to change how business is done in Washington, of playing politics as usual.

Last month, Elizabeth Vale, a White House liaison to the business community, e-mailed dozens of business leaders, inviting them to join senior White House economic officials Diana Farrell and Austan Goolsbee to discuss the Wall Street reform bill passed by the Senate the day before.

“We are pleased to invite you today to join senior White House officials for a conference call to discuss the historic financial Wall Street reform legislation passed in the Senate yesterday,” the invitation read, adding that the call was off-limits to the media.

“The White House likes to say they’re valiantly resisting ‘lobbyists’ and ‘special interests,’ but their Rolodex of e-mail contacts contradicts that,” said a Republican lobbyist who represents several financial services clients.

Craig Holman of the government watchdog group Public Citizen said Obama runs the risk of looking hypocritical, but “he’s figured out the biggest risk is to alienate K Street altogether.” (Chris Frates, “Lobbyists get exclusive W.H. invite,” Politico, 6/09/2010)

]To read the full article, click here.