Obama’s exports pick tied to arms makers

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“My clients have been primarily small, medium and large U.S. companies and their foreign affiliates,” he said. “Most of my work has involved explaining to them how to comply with both the ‘law and the lore’ of the often complex export-control and sanctions regulations.

“If U.S. government permission was required to engage in a proposed transaction, I would help them apply for and receive the necessary authorizations,” he said.

The job of assistant secretary of commerce for export administration is within the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. The bureau controls exports of technology, software and so-called dual-use items, or products that can be used for commercial purposes but that can also be used for military purposes. The bureau also processed more than 20,000 export licenses in 2008, according to Commerce records.

On his disclosure form, Mr. Wolf reported that his duties for Boeing and other clients were to “provide export-control advice.” He also advised on issues pertaining to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Watchdog groups such as POGO generally have praised Mr. Obama’s ethics rules, with the group crediting the administration in a letter to the White House this week for progress toward a more “effective, accountable and ethical federal government.”

However, POGO also noted that the “revolving door between the government and private industry creates governmentwide problems that are particularly devastating to regulatory agencies’ mission.”

Several of Mr. Obama’s appointees have been given waivers from the ethics rules based on their ties to companies in the private sector before entering government.

On its Web site, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics lists 15 appointees who have been granted waivers from ethics officials, including Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics; Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; and Herbert Allison, assistant secretary for financial stability at the Treasury Department.

In addition, the White House Web site separately lists the names of seven others who received waivers from the White House, including Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Mr. Obama, and William Lynn, deputy secretary of defense.

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