In 1988, Gregory Craig and William Lynn worked together as legislative assistants for Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Back then, Craig earned $37,375 a year and Lynn $23,734.
This year, President Obama appointed Craig as his White House counsel, a job which paid $172,200 a year during the Bush administration.
One of Craig’s first official acts as White House counsel was to recommend that Obama waive his ballyhooed rules against employing lobbyists in his administration so that Lynn, Craig’s old Senate colleague and a former registered lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon, could become the deputy secretary of defense at $177,000 a year under inherited pay scales.
So much for Obama’s vows during his presidential campaign to break up the old boy network in Washington and not bring lobbyists into his administration.
Craig, of course, is Obama’s vetting czar – and who has his own tax issues – but this was done, as far as I can see, prior to the series of disasters that required a new vetting czar in the first place. If I was reporting about this happening in somebody else’s country, I might feel a certain amount of detached sympathy; political promises or no, our system is designed around the principle that when you’re in quote-unquote “public service” you spend the years where your faction’s out of power in various and sundry “private” companies and groups. After a few years, you end up knowing a lot of people, both in and out of government. If you have opinions on a policy – and who doesn’t? – you usually know somebody who will at least return your call, and very likely be willing to do you a minor favor (after all, he or she will be doing the same thing down the road). Having this ability is a marketable skill.
There. I’ve explained lobbying.
As I said, if this was some other country I’d be sympathetic to the Obama administration’s need to walk back from a campaign position that they simply cannot follow through on, and are just now realizing will be an issue that won’t go away in the Era of YouTube. However, this is my country, and I know darned well that they were baldfaced lying about this all along, so the President can either take the hit every time one of his cronies hires another lobbyist crony for a six-figure salary, or he can go on the air and admit that all of that bloviating about ending the influence of lobbyists in Washington was just “what we call pillow talk.”
PS: Read the rest of that post, by the way. There’s some indication that William Lynn’s going to have a free hand with your money.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.