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Business as usual

Posted By Russ Roberts On January 28, 2009 @ 3:50 pm In Business as usual | Comments Disabled

I guess when you get away with your loose habits in filing taxes, you come to think you don't have to play by the same rules as everyone else. USA Today reports [1]:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner picked a
former Goldman Sachs lobbyist as a top aide Tuesday, the same day he
announced rules aimed at reducing the role of lobbyists in agency
decisions.

Mark Patterson will serve as Geithner's chief of
staff at Treasury, which oversees the government's $700 billion
financial bailout program. Goldman Sachs received $10 billion of that
money.

Treasury spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said
Patterson "brings significant expertise to the job." Patterson, who
left the investment bank in April, signed the administration's ethics
pledge, which requires him to recuse himself from issues "directly and
substantially related to my former employer."

Melanie Sloan, executive director of the
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said President
Obama was retreating from his own ethics rules barring lobbyists from
working on the issues they lobbied about during the previous two years.
"It makes it appear that they are saying one thing and doing another,"
she said.

It does make it appear that way, doesn't it? But Patterson isn't the only one:

The White House waived the rules Friday for
William Lynn, who lobbied for a defense contractor last year, to serve
as deputy Defense secretary.

Geithner issued rules Tuesday to restrict lobbyists from contacting Treasury about bailout issues.

Now a word from our sponsor, designed to please the ghost of George Orwell:

White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said
Obama is following through on his commitment to operate under strict
ethical standards.

And finally, let's hear from an unbiased source who really goes out on a limb:

Dave Wenhold, of the American League of
Lobbyists, said lobbyists bring expertise to the job. "Just because you
are registered to lobby doesn't mean that you are evil, " he said.

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