Obama Makes A Mockery Of His Own Ethics Rule… And Progressivism

5 comments February 5th, 2009at 11:42am Posted by Eli

The wankery, it burns!

The leading candidate to head the Justice Department office that oversees legal policy and judicial nominations recently has been a lobbyist for several business clients, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and would require a waiver from the Obama administration’s recently imposed ethics rules.


The likely nominee to head Justice’s Office of Legal Policy, Mark Gitenstein, worked as a lobbyist for the chamber between 2000 and 2008, helping his firm earn more than $6 million in fees, according to federal lobbying records. The business alliance has pushed the White House and Congress to appoint judges and enact legislation that would make it harder for plaintiffs to sue large corporations and collect large damage awards, raising concerns from some activists.

….In recent years, he also has served as counsel to the chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, which pushed for changes in federal litigation rules and adding business-friendly judges to state courts.

If named by President Obama, Gitenstein would be another appointee who violates the White House’s ethics rules, which prevent anyone who has registered to lobby in the last two years from working in a related area of the administration….


The possibility of Gitenstein’s selection has begun to alarm some Obama supporters on the left. One reform organization, Public Citizen, this week launched a campaign against him, urging Obama not to go forward with the nomination.
“The American people deserve better than to have an opponent of their legal interests placed in a key Justice Department policy position,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch in a letter to the president.


If nominated, Gitenstein would require a waiver from the ethics rules. The White House has already acknowledged the need to exempt several high profile positions, including that of William Lynn III, recently a lobbyist for defense contractor Ratheon Corp., who was named to the No. 2 job at the Pentagon.


The Office of Legal Policy is a little-known but enormously powerful unit. It has primary responsibility for advising the administration on judicial selection and helping to shepherd judicial nominees through the Senate.

First of all, what is the point of even having ethics rules for appointees if Obama’s just going to keep waiving them? All that does is draw attention to his insincerity and lack of commitment to the standards he claims to have.

Second of all, he’s putting a Chamber Of Commerce lobbyist in charge of selecting judicial nominees? Really? Maybe this is just one of those phony trial-balloon stories, or the reporter’s getting punk’d, but it really doesn’t sound like it.

It’s hard to believe in Change when Change keeps nominating corrupt corporate hacks.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Wankers


  • 1. woody  |  February 5th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    You are apparently either surprised of taken aback by this revelation?


    Surely, even in Pittsburgh, you cannot have believed all the hype about change?

    How and why would anyone think that the System would put itself in the hands of someone–anyone–who posed the slightest scintilla of a possibility that he/she would UDNO the interests of the System? If Obama posed the slightest threat to the status quo, he would not now be where he is…

  • 2. Eli  |  February 5th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    But usually when you’re throwing a fight, you’re supposed to at least make it *look* good, not take a dive 15 seconds into the first round.

  • 3. Cujo359  |  February 5th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I”m pretty sure Eli’s being sarcastic when he writes that way. I know I am.

    Unfortunately, it’s difficult to follow these rules, given the pervasiveness of the revolving door culture in DC. It’s really like its own closed little world of employment. People hop from private business to government and back again, and they don’t change specialties when they hop.

    I’m not excusing this particular appointment, mind you. If anyone should be above reproach at DoJ, it should be the OLC. But at some point, I think there will be a waiver that I’ll support, at least grudgingly.

    Just for the record, though, Daschle wasn’t who I had in mind for a waiver, either.

  • 4. Eli  |  February 5th, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I wouldn’t have wanted Daschle even if he was pure as the driven snow. I don’t care what kind of expertise or connections or goodwill he has, he’s the last person I would want in charge of an initiative that’s going to be an all-out war.

    Nominating Daschle was like bringing gumdrops to a knife fight.

  • 5. Cujo359  |  February 5th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    He certainly had his troubles back in 2002. Still, the fact that he was so clearly in bed with the industries he’d have been in charge of regulating. His nomination was bad news all around. I just came to that realization later than you did.

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