Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Solid First Steps....

This is change we can believe in.... "Obama Transition Announces Rules for Lobbyists in Transition" (

On Tuesday Barack Obama Transition Co-Chair John Podesta announced the strictest, and most far reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history.

The rules include the policy that if someone has lobbied in the last 12 months, they are prohibited from working in the fields of policy on which they lobbied.

Even after the transition.... if someone becomes a lobbyist they are prohibited from lobbying the administration for 12 months on matters on which they worked.

And, a gift ban that is aggressive in reducing the influence of special interests.

Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution said of Obama's lobbyist rules, "The ethical guidelines released today for the Obama transition are tough and unequivocal. They will prevent some honorable people with rich experience from serving in the transition. That is a real cost but it is more than balanced by the strong signal sent by the President-elect. He aspires to attract to government able individuals whose highest priority is to serve the public interest. This is a very constructive step in that direction."

As part of the transition, "Agency Reviews Start Monday." (WaPo) Monday Obama transition team members will start arriving at offices to start reviewing over 100 departments, agencies and commissions of the United States according to Podesta.

The former White House chief of staff said the agency review teams "will ensure that senior appointees have the information necessary to complete their confirmation process, lead their departments and begin implementing signature policy initiatives immediately after they're sworn in.”

In a demonstration of unprecedented transition transparency, Podesta said his team will publicly release the names of every person on the agency review teams and those that will enter the agencies for review.

This, fellow Americans, is what it means to "hit the ground running" next January 20. Aren't you feeling better by the moment....

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