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.