Obama Lobbying Rules Not Exactly Foolproof

What's in a name? A lobbyist by any other name would still peddle influence.

Are there fewer lobbyists in Washington these days? You’d think so if you saw the numbers. But that’s only the official count of registered lobbyists. The new trend is to “de-register” in order to avoid Obama administration rules aimed at restricting government jobs for lobbyists, including cushy presidential appointee positions or plum civil service jobs with a government pension, government health care and plenty of job security.

The most restraining rule under Obama is that no lobbyist who has lobbied in the previous two years can be hired by any agency. Another rule restricts registered lobbyists from seeking to steer stimulus funding or banking bailout dollars. And yet another rule restricts lobbyists from serving on advisory boards that provide input to federal agencies on policies and funding priorities.

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Richard Sammon
Senior Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter