So Much for Those Ethics Rules: Wall Street Lobbyist in Line for Top Treasury Job

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 10:44 am

Well, this doesn’t look too good, does it? A recent lobbyist for Goldman Sachs, Mark Patterson, is in line to become chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, ABC news reports. And more former lobbyists also are expected to be filling some key administration jobs as well. All this seems to fly in the face of those new ethics rules President Obama recently announced, to limit the influence of lobbyists in his administration.

From ABC:

Patterson first began lobbying for Goldman Sachs in 2005, after working as policy director for then-Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. According to publicly filed lobbying disclosure records, he worked on issues related to the banking committee, climate change and carbon trading and immigration reform, among others.

Patterson’s lobbying was first noted by the National Journal magazine.

Patterson is one of over a dozen recent lobbyists in line for important posts in the Obama administration, despite a presidential order severely restricting the role of lobbyists in his administration, the magazine reported.

Steve Ellis, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, isn’t happy:

“Considering that Goldman was an early and large recipient of our TARP funding, being pulled out of that really does effect his ability to be an effective chief of staff for the treasury secretary.”

If this keeps up, plenty of others aren’t going to be too happy, either. Those new lobbying rules seems well on its way to becoming a distant memory. Where’s the justification for all this? Aren’t there qualified people out there who don’t happen to be former lobbyists?

I guess we’ll probably find out in late-Friday-afternoon press releases, like the one last week that announced an exemption for former Raytheon lobbyist Bill Lynn from the lobbying rule, thereby making his nomination as deputy defense secretary more likely.

As Spencer put it, “change we can believe in!”



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