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Jan 22, 2009

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Cat

Please note that Def. Sec. Gates interviewed lots of folks for the post of Defense Dept. budget chief and he found Lynn to be the best. Lynn also wrote a book, "Toward a More Effective Defense"--which may be why Obama wants him: he wants to lower defense dept. spending which is too big a chunk of GDP and Lynn might help him achieve this. Whoever's blocking Lynn might be defense contractors and the politicians in their pockets.

Robert L. Cerra


If President Obama doesn't withdraw Lynn' nomination then the Prseident's talk about excluding lobbists is just that - talk. I've listend to all this rhetoric about change for months and within days the President appears to be just contradicted his own position - its absurd.

PGO'd statment cncenring lynn is soft and muted and it looks like he has fooled you too !


Regards
Bob C.


Dave Huntsman

While I applaud the sentiment on this one issue, I think you're missing the bigger picture, and that is his Exec Order doesn't really do what he says it does.

A couple of things are needed to truly make the stated intent realities; without them, then things only get worse (ie, he becomes another dishonest politician who intentionally misleads about whether he is doing anything concrete or not).

1. ENFORCEMENT - Without further changes, some of these improvements are (almost) meaningless. For example:
- enforcement of Obama's orders is given to OGE, the Office of Government Ethics. But enforcement is almost never possible without investigative ability- and OGE does not have any investigative authority.
"Matters Outside of OGE's Jurisdiction:
PLEASE NOTE: The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) generally does not conduct investigations, does not have any investigative staff, and cannot represent citizens in legal matters. Please see section on complaint forwarding below for related information."

http://www.usoge.gov/about/matters_outside.aspx.

In short - enforcement is given to an Agency that is not allowed to do serious enforcement. Sounds like the usual bait and switch - doesn't it? Nor is its budget and manpower being increased to enforce these over the up to 3000 employees they apply to.

2. The no-lobbying-after-leaving restriction is only applied to lobbying the White House - but most ex-White House employees lobby congress as part, or even all, of their duties.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
1. Obama must submit to Congress a change to the law mandating enforcement for such ethics be added to OGE - as well as requisite increase in budget and manpower authority.

2. As an up-front condition of Executive Branch employment, departing employees must agree to not lobby Congress also for 5 years; also to be enforced for a newly-strengthened OGE. Obama doesn't need a law to impose this condition (any more than he needed on to supposedly impose this weeks').

Ed

I agree that the Secretary of Defense should withdraw Lynn from the nomination -- it sends the wrong message to have a defense contractor lobbyist as the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Everyone knows that the Deputy runs the day-to-day operations of the Pentagon, not the Secretary. It will be impossible for Lynn to recuse himself from dealings on Raytheon and still be able to carry out his duties. The Bush administration thrieved on loopholes - let's hope Obama holds firm to his ideals and executive orders. There are plenty of people that could be an effective Deputy that were not a lobbyist for defense contractors.

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