President Obama is off to a magnificent start. The promise to close Guantanamo earned worldwide raves. Tough new rules on lobbyists and a ban on Administration people from lobbying it as long as Obama is President are refreshing ethics news.
That timing is terrible. One doesn’t trot out new rules (to much applause) one day, and then announce the next day (when the applause has died down) that somebody may get a “pass.” That simply fails the smell test and is amateur hour.
There is no doubt that Lynn, senior VP-government operations at Raytheon, is qualified for the Pentagon post. Prior to joining Raytheon, Lynn was the Pentagon’s comptroller and chief budget officer. He also was director of DOD’s program analysis and evaluation.
Lynn joined the Pentagon in '93 after serving as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s aide. He had been a registered lobbyist for the defense contractor that produces the Patriot missile until June.
Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, is right when he says the new lobby rules allow waivers. That is not the point. If the White House is dishing out waivers at the very beginning of the Administration -- when the press is focused like a laser beam on its activities -- what is going to happen on the 1000th day of Obama’s reign? Will waivers become so commonplace, they destroy the intent of the new rules.
Surely, there is another well-qualified person to serve as chief deputy to Defense Secretary Gates. Obama should begin that search pronto.