President Obama unveiled a new Ethics website designed to facilitate researching lobbying reports, campaign contrbutions, and White House visitor logs, as part of his promise to run a transparent administration -- even though he has proven adept at circumventing his own rules.
"President Obama promised he would 'create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable, and downloadable format,'" the White House Press Secretary's office announced today. "Today, with the launch of www.Ethics.gov, he's delivering on that promise."
The launch announcement comes amid various reports that lobbyists have a significant sway in the Obama White House. "Steve Ricchetti, whose long list of lobbying clients included in Fannie Mae, General Motors, the American Hospital Association and Eli Lilly, was tapped to be counselor to Vice President Biden," the Washington Post's Dana Milbank observed yesterday, before explaining that Obama did not break the letter of his ban on lobbyists working in the administration because Ricchetti de-registered as a lobbyist, even though he remained president of a lobbying firm.
There's also a strong correlation between fundraising for President Obama's campaign and receiving a government job. "More than half of Obama’s 47 biggest fundraisers, those who collected at least $500,000 for his campaign, have been given administration jobs," The Washington Post's T.W. Farnam wrote yesterday. "Nine more have been appointed to presidential boards and committees."
Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner explained recently how "fat-cat lobbyists bankroll Obama," but he has also discovered another phenomenon. If you "mention Obama's big money hypocrisy, [you] earn hatred" from Obama defenders such as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who thinks that Carney's shows "disrespect" for the presidency when he observes that Obama makes promises and then finds clever ways to get around his own rules.