- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team announced Tuesday sweeping ethics rules for the interim period until his inauguration, and said Cabinet appointments most likely will come from the Democrat when he’s in Chicago.

Transition leader John Podesta told reporters in Washington that Mr. Obama wants the process to be the “most open and transparent … in history.”

Mr. Podesta detailed a ban on gifts and funds from federal registered lobbyists and a one-year time restriction between lobbying and working for the transition to avoid the “revolving door” between government and K Street.

He said 450 people are employed by the transition, which has a budget of $12 million. Of that sum, $5.2 million in taxpayer dollars was appropriated by Congress. The team will raise money to supplement the rest, but will abide by the same rules Mr. Obama used in the campaign: no money from federal registered lobbyists, corporations or political action committees. The maximum contribution allowed will be $5,000.

Money for the Jan. 20 inauguration will be handled separately, Mr. Podesta said.

The transition process aims to be efficient, organized and bipartisan because Mr. Obama “wants to ensure that we hit the ground running on Jan. 20 because we dont have a minute to lose,” Mr. Podesta said.

He said Mr. Obama himself will make announcements about Cabinet posts, and repeated what he said over the weekend that presidents-elect, with a few exceptions, have not named their appointees until December.

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