- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2009

William Lynn’s nomination by President Obama to be No. 2 at the Pentagon breezed through the Senate on Wednesday on a 93-4 vote that belied concerns about his work as a lobbyist for a leading defense contractor.

Mr. Lynn, who was a registered lobbyist for Raytheon Co., had been granted a waiver from the Obama administration’s ethics rules intended to stop officials from rotating between government and companies that do business with the government.

Mr. Lynn will now take over day-to-day management of the largest agency in the federal government.

Under President Clinton, Mr. Lynn was the Pentagon’s comptroller from 1997 to 2000, in effect its chief financial officer.

Administration officials said his management skills outweighed concerns under new ethics rules. The rules prohibit people from joining government agencies that they have done business with in the previous two years.

Until July, Mr. Lynn was registered as a lobbyist for Raytheon, one of the nation’s largest defense contractors.

Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, shepherded Mr. Lynn’s nomination through the Senate.

He expressed hope that Mr. Lynn could help control Pentagon finances.

“These [Pentagon financial management] systems have been deficient, continue to be deficient and with the help of this body and hopefully some real energy in the Department of Defense, that can be corrected,” Mr. Levin said. “We all need that.”

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, was a vocal critic of Mr. Lynn during the confirmation process.

“As CFO, he advocated very questionable accounting practices that were not in the public interest,” Mr. Grassley said earlier.

“I have found that political nominees, good and bad, come back like Australian boomerangs,” he said.

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