Nathan R. Jessup

Obama: No More Lobbyists-Forget My Record

In Congress, freedom, Government Lies, Integrity, living free, morality, Obama, US Senate, World News on January 28, 2010 at 12:21 am

Tonight President Obama vowed to rid Washington of lobbyists and special interest groups. Really? I’m sure Andy Stern was just fixing drywall in the Oval Office-22 times. Clearly tonight’s SOTU was an attempt to further blind the American people with a tactical use of smoke and mirrors. Regardless of whether or not you believe what the President said tonight, let’s take a closer look at the facts surrounding his administration:


  • Eric Holder, attorney general nominee, was registered to lobby until 2004 on behalf of clients including Global Crossing, a bankrupt telecommunications firm [now confirmed].
  • Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year on behalf of the National Education Association.
  • William Lynn, deputy defense secretary nominee, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for defense contractor Raytheon, where he was a top executive.
  • William Corr, deputy health and human services secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until last year for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a non-profit that pushes to limit tobacco use.
  • David Hayes, deputy interior secretary nominee, was registered to lobby until 2006 for clients, including the regional utility San Diego Gas & Electric.
  • Mark Patterson, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was registered to lobby as recently as last year for financial giant Goldman Sachs.
  • Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, was registered to lobby until 2005 for clients, including the Coalition for Asbestos Resolution, U.S. Airways, Airborne Express and drug-maker ImClone.
  • Mona Sutphen, deputy White House chief of staff, was registered to lobby for clients, including Angliss International in 2003.
  • Melody Barnes, domestic policy council director, lobbied in 2003 and 2004 for liberal advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Constitution Society and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
  • Cecilia Munoz, White House director of intergovernmental affairs, was a lobbyist as recently as last year for the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.
  • Patrick Gaspard, White House political affairs director, was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union.
  • Michael Strautmanis, chief of staff to the president’s assistant for intergovernmental relations, lobbied for the American Association of Justice from 2001 until 2005.

I’m confused, are all these people leaving?

The Washington Examiner also reports:

“we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs”

This claim falls somewhere between extremely imprecise and downright false, presuming he’s talking about former lobbyists. To begin with, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was a lobbyist for the National Education Association in March of 2008.

Sure, education and agriculture are two different issue areas, but what about Monsanto’s former top lobbyist Michael Taylor, whom Obama put in charge of food safety policy? And then there’s top agri-chemical lobbyist Isi Siddiqui, whom Obama tapped as a trade representative on agriculture. Their defenses are that they were lobbyists outside Obama’s two-year window.

But then there’s William J. Lynn, who was a lobbyist for leading defense contractor Raytheon when Obama tapped him as Secretary of Defense. Not much getting around that one, so Obama issued a waiver.

But, last I checked, we didn’t even have a waiver for Treasury Department Chief of Staff Mark Patterson, who was a Goldman Sachs lobbyist as late as April 2008. Does Patterson recuse himself from all policymaking on taxes, financial policy, Goldman Sachs, AIG, and monetary policy?

There are at least a dozen other former lobbyists in the Obama administration.

It’s “time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office.”

Obama has credibility here, as he steadfastly tried to avoid taking lobbyist money in 2008. But it’s worth pointing out that, according to data at, Democrats have outraised Republicans from the lobbying industry by $5.6 million to $3 million this cycle, the top two recipients of lobbyist cash are Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and 8 of the top 10 recipients are Democrats.

Finally, let’s take a look at the actual campaign donations from Obama’s Presidential election:
Yet again, the eloquent rhetoric of the President falls in direct contradiction with the facts. The American people have had enough of the speeches, the contradictions and empty promises. As a whole, Americans are a strong, resilient and hardworking people; they deserve the absolute best from those who represent them, not simply the appearance of such. Stop talking and start doing.
UPDATE: The Atlantic explains why even liberals didn’t buy the speech.
UPDATE: reports thorough “fact check” of SOTU

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