Another Obama Nominee Seems to Run Afoul of Anti-Lobbyist Campaign Rhetoric

President-elect Barack Obama today put forth his second nomination of an individual whose immediate past experience as a lobbyist seems to run in direct contradiction with Mr. Obama's rhetoric on the campaign trail against the "revolving door" of lobbyists working for the government. William Corr, whose name Mr. Obama put forward this morning to be deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, was until September 2008 a federal lobbyist with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids , lobbying Congress unsuccessfully to require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. The group also supports higher cigarette taxes , smoke-free workplaces , and other initiatives opposed by the tobacco industry. Mr. Corr's activism may align perfectly with Mr. Obama's views, but Mr. Obama's campaign pledge did not differentiate between lobbying for causes he approved of, and one he didn't. Obama Transition Team spokesman Tommy Vietor says that "In his new role William Corr has recused himself from dealing with the issue on which he used to lobby which is tobacco, and by doing so he is consistent with out policy. Mr. Corr is no longer a registered lobbyist." Last week, Mr. Obama nominated William Lynn , who lobbied for defense giant Raytheon, to serve as deputy Secretary of Defense. By recusing Mr. Lynn from working on issues related to his lobbying work for Raytheon, and Mr. Corr from work dealing with tobacco, the Obama Transition Team insists it is abiding by the precise language of the pledge the candidate made on the subject , that "No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years." When he was pursuing the Democratic nomination Obama was broader in his anti-lobbyist pledges. "When I am president, they won't find a job in my White House," Mr. Obama said at a campaign event in Spartanburg, SC, in November 2007. "I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists -- and won," Mr. Obama said at his much-praised Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner speech three days later . "They have not funded my campaign, they will not get a job in my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am President." Mr. Obama changed that pledge, however, to the notion that lobbyists won't "run" his White House. -- jpt

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