Obama's Lobbyist Ban Haunting Him

He's losing good people for hard-to-fill administration spots
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Mar 13, 2009 8:15 AM CDT
Lobbyist Dave Wenhold of Miller Wenhold Capitol Strategies is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 9, 2009.    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – President Obama’s campaign pledge to run a lobbyist-free White House is coming back to haunt him, writes Jonathan Martin in Politico. The problem is that there’s an army of Democratic specialists in hard-to-master policy areas who worked as lobbyists during the Bush administration—and they're all off-limits. “This town is filled with crackerjack tax attorneys, but you can go bowling in the Treasury hallway and not hit anybody,” says one lobbyist.

Longtime Democrats who’d expected work aren’t happy. “They might have made a distinction between non-profit causes and business,” says a former lobbyist. But the administration looks unlikely to back down now. “We have no plans to let up,” says a spokeswoman. Some lobbyists might move to Capitol Hill for some time, to "sanitize" themselves, but, says one, “Ninety-five percent of us have at this point given up.”