Nonprofit groups have launched a new campaign on behalf of their own lobbyists, the New York Times reports. Barack Obama’s current anti-lobbying rules don’t make any distinction between corporate influence peddlers and public interest advocates; all are barred from administration jobs. Case in point: Tom Malinowski, the Human Rights Watch director passed over for a human rights chief position many thought was his for the taking.
“It’s an outrage,” says one advocate. “Tom is one of the most effective human rights activists in Washington, and you could get 20 people to say that.” Early on the administration made some exceptions, but it has since drawn a hard line, believing public trust in government is too fragile to make such fine distinctions. “It’s painful,” says David Axelrod. “We’ve had to sacrifice the help of a lot of very valuable people.”