President Obama angrily denounced the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in favor of free speech multiple times last week. In that case, the government sought the power to ban movies and books that mention candidate names within 60 days of an election. Mr. Obama and proponents of campaign finance reform believe such censorship is necessary to regulate money spent on elections.
In his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama claimed that he’s merely fighting for good government. “We pushed back on that power by implementing historic reforms to get rid of the influence of those special interests,” he said. “We closed the revolving door between lobbying firms and the government so that no one in my administration would make decisions based on the interests of former or future employers.”
Talk about baloney. This comes from the same president who recently cut a $60 billion deal with labor unions to exempt them for many years from a new tax on high quality health care insurance.
This is the same president who promised not to appoint lobbyists to government positions. Yet, Mr. Obama appointed William Lynn as deputy secretary for defense despite his previous work as a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon. Cecilia Munoz, Mr. Obama’s director of intergovernmental affairs in the executive office of the president, lobbied for National Council of La Raza. For director of policy and projects in the office of the first lady, the president appointed Jocelyn Frye, who lobbied for the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Nobody knows how long this list is because Mr. Obama refuses to reveal the lobbying ties of most of his appointees. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, has tried for seven months to get the White House to disclose all the former lobbyists granted waivers and recusals from regulationsso that they could work in the administration. There has been no response. So much for transparency.
The crux of this story is presidential hypocrisy. Many lobbyists are experts in their fields and can be appropriate nominees for public office. Mr. Obama appointing a few lobbyists isn’t the problem. The uncomfortable part is that Mr. Obama continues to brazenly claim he has “closed the revolving door between lobbying firms and the government,” which just isn’t true. No wonder he wants the bureaucracy to have censorship power at election time.