President Obama is having a problem getting a former defense lobbyist confirmed to be in the pentagon:
Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn
The Obama administration Friday waived its ethics rules to ease the nomination of former Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn as deputy defense secretary, but the matter is nowhere near settled. And President Barack Obama’s former campaign rival, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), could be the stopper. Lynn’s appointment to the No. 2 post at the Pentagon ran afoul of Obama’s ethics pledge to bar lobbyists entering his administration from working on issues related to their former employers. But the administration changed the rules to ease Lynn’s nomination on Friday. Noting the waiver “removes an obstacle” to the nomination, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he looks “forward to prompt consideration by the Senate.” Levin said the committee would insist that Lynn remove himself from any decisions regarding defense contractor Raytheon for the next year “unless specifically authorized to participate by an appropriate ethics official.” But McCain, who eased debate about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nomination for secretary of state, still has his sights set on Lynn. “I am disappointed in President Obama’s decision to waive the “revolving door” provisions of the executive order for Mr. Bill Lynn, his nominee to serve as deputy secretary of defense,” McCain said. “While I applaud the president’s action to implement new, more stringent ethical rules, I had hoped he would not find it necessary to waive them so soon.” McCain also said he wanted to ask Lynn to clarify what decisions would require him to step aside. A committee vote on Lynn’s nomination is not scheduled, but it meets again Tuesday, when Defense Secretary Robert Gates will testify. The latest maneuvering over Lynn came amid growing calls for Lynn to withdraw. On Thursday, the Project on Government Oversight asked Obama to withdraw the nomination. And on Friday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Government Accountability Project and Public Citizen signed a letter to Levin and McCain, the committee’s ranking Republican. Before the president’s ethics policy was issued, Lynn’s nomination wouldn’t have been questioned, the groups said. But the president’s new ethics rules changed all that, leading watchdog groups to “believe that Mr. Lynn simply could not effectively serve as the deputy secretary of defense.” Stefan Passantino, a partner at the McKenna, Long & Aldridge law firm who has represented former House Speakers Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), assessed the situation matter of factly. “Very often in Washington and in politics there are efforts to – make grand pronouncements reflecting a grand change in policy,” Passantino said. “It’s the common phenomenon of the law of good intentions running headlong into the law of unintended consequences.”
The President should be celebrated for both establishing a new culture, and realizing there need to be exceptions. I have no idea if this is a good exception, but I trust the President's judgement and agree that Lynn should be confirmed.
I respect the fact that Obama is giving a waiver to his own policy so early on. It shows that sure there should be a new rule, and the administration will live up to it, especially in the everyday practice of personell (which generally isn't in the public eye), but that he won't do things to hurt the country for the sake of keeping "good government" types happy.
Another good job by our new President.