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Mr. Steinberg is not alone in having ties to the lobbying industry among Obama political appointees.

Mr. Obama’s pick for the No. 2 job at the Pentagon, William J. Lynn, was a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon Co. last year. The Obama administration granted him a special waiver from strict new lobbying rules.

Attorney General-designate Eric H. Holder Jr. was registered to lobby for Global Crossing Ltd. while he was a lawyer at Covington & Burling LLP. He reported in a recent ethics filing that he received $3.3 million in salary and deferred compensation at the Washington-based law firm.