Star Wars 1, Ethics 0
It's a Friday night after another rough week at work, a momentous week for our country, so of course I need something to bitch about with the new administration.
How serious are all your bells-and-whistles about bringing ethics back to the Executive Branch when you immediately waive those rules just so Bob Gates can have a Raytheon lobbyist as his deputy?
A former Raytheon lobbyist nominated to be deputy defense secretary despite President Barack Obama's ban on hiring lobbyists will sell his stock in the military contracting firm.
However, William J. Lynn won't be forced to step back from decisions related to his former employer, the Pentagon said Friday.
What exactly is so special about this guy that it was worth letting Bob Gates shred your ethics policy? Then again, why is Bob Gates still around?
Under the ban, former lobbyists could not "participate in any particular matter" they had been involved in as a lobbyist or "participate in the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls."
But Lynn avoided a total recusal under the decision announced by Pentagon officials Friday.
On Thursday, the administration delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee a waiver to Obama's "ethics pledge" for federal employees, exempting Lynn from two specific sections: a two-year prohibition on employees from participating in decisions related to their former employers and a more specific section banning individuals from taking jobs in the agencies they recently lobbied.
I guess Raytheon’s “Star Wars” contracts are safe now.
I know we’re all supposed to be excited about Obama grabbing the low-hanging fruit: Ending Bush’s abortion ban; closing Guantanamo apparently without much forethought; ending the use of torture; and opening up the government once again to the people. All of these are laudable things, and like water to the thirsty after the last eight years of darkness and corruption. Obama will need these nice little press clippings until he gets a stimulus package through Congress in February.
But was the talent pool so shallow that it required you to jettison your newly-minted ethics policy just days after you issued it?