What Are Republicans Thinking?

February 3rd, 2009at 07:24am Posted by Eli

Maybe they’re just opposing reflexively, but this makes no sense to me:

An aide to Senator John McCain told the Globe today that the Arizona Republican will no longer hold up the nomination of William J. Lynn III, the Raytheon executive and former registered lobbyist who was granted a special White House waiver to get around the Obama administration’s strict new ethics regulations.

Lynn’s nomination to be deputy secretary of defense hit a snag late last month when lawmakers from both parties questioned whether his ties to Raytheon, which was awarded more than $10 billion in Defense Department contracts last year, should disqualify him from serving as the day-to-day manager of the Pentagon, with enormous influence over decisions that would affect the Waltham-based defense giant.

Indeed, Lynn’s lobbying ties are a clear violation of Obama’s own ethics rules. Implemented by executive order on Jan. 21, they bar lobbyists from positions in the new administration that oversee the industries they advocated for in the previous two years. Lynn, however, was a registered lobbyist for Raytheon until July 2008.


McCain’s willingness to move ahead with a vote on Lynn in the committee — which could come as early as this afternoon — still leaves one possible obstacle to his ultimate approval — Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican.

Grassley last week told White House budget director Peter Orszag that the selection of Lynn “gutted the ethical heart” of Obama’s pledge to close “the revolving door” that has allowed former lobbyists to oversee the very industries they once represented.

“He would be the final approval authority on most — if not all — contract, program and budget decisions,” Grassley wrote. “Surely, a number of Raytheon issues would come across his desk.”

So let me get this straight: this guy is an executive and former lobbyist for a defense contractor, and the Republicans aren’t just gleefully waving him through?  What are they thinking?  Do they care nothing for the interests of their defense industry constituents?

Also, how meaningful is Obama’s no-lobbyists policy if he can just grant a waiver from it whenever he feels like it?  It sounds like Bush’s no-torture policy.

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

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