Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama: Do As I Say, Not As I Do On Government Ethics

Two days ago, President Barack Obama announced tough new ethics rules for his administration which barred former lobbyists from joining his administration and working on issues related to their former employment. Today, Obama waived those rules for his number two pick at the Pentagon, William Lynn, a lobbyist for Raytheon, one of the Defense Department's largest contractors. Obama ordered:

"I hereby waive the requirements of Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Ethics Pledge of Mr. William Lynn. I have determined that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver given Mr. Lynn's qualifications for his position and the current national security situation. I understand that Mr. Lynn will otherwise comply with the remainder of the pledge and with all preexisting government ethics rules.”

Sen. John McCain is disappointed in his former rival's decision. "I am disappointed in President Obama’s decision to waive the “revolving door” provisions of the executive order for Mr. Bill Lynn, his nominee to serve as deputy secretary of defense,” McCain said. “While I applaud the president’s action to implement new, more stringent ethical rules, I had hoped he would not find it necessary to waive them so soon.”

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