Barack Obama’s ban on having former administration figures lobby the administration ain’t much of a ban at all:
With President Obama’s reelection a done deal, headhunters are expecting worn-out administration aides to look for new jobs in the influence industry.
Several Obama aides started making post-election plans well before November, holding discussions with executive search firms in Washington as early as this past spring. Their stock has risen since Obama’s victory, but they face a tough job market on K Street, where belt-tightening has become the norm.
Several headhunters for law and lobby firms said one thing that won’t work against the job seekers is Obama’s executive order on ethics, which bans former officials from lobbying the administration while he is in office.
“That hasn’t come up once,” Eric Vautour of Russell Reynolds Associates said of the ethics order. “They can still direct those activities. If you’re asking someone to go run a whole department, they can go ask someone to make a call. It’s not that big a deal. Clients recognize that as well.”
While some lobbyists said the lobbying ban could diminish administration officials’ value on K Street, others said it has not been a major factor in assessing recruits from the administration.
“I don’t think the president’s stance on ethics and government hinders these people coming out of the administration,” said Rich Gold, head of the public policy group at Holland & Knight. “The fact they can’t lobby their former colleagues is not a determinative factor when we are looking to hire somebody.”
So nothing stops these people from cashing in on their experience in government, which means that nothing has changed in Washington. And we are supposed to believe that this is ethics, transparency, Hope and Change at work. Aren’t you just overjoyed?
On a serious note, I dare Obamaphiles to tell me that this is what they voted for. In fact, I double-dog dare them.