The Washington Post has an explosive exposé on the level of access lobbyists have to the White House, as revealed by the official visitor logs. According to the Post, the logs “show that the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The records also suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access.” This, it turns out, is business as usual in the Obama White House. Not quite the “Hope and Change” President the American people were sold in 2008. Obama’s reform rhetoric has masked the fact that his administration is actively doling out favors to special interests and political supporters.
President Obama has a long history of bashing lobbyists publicly, while welcoming them with open arms behind closed doors. As a candidate, Obama said, “I don’t take a dime of their [lobbyists’] money, and when I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House.” Now that he is president, both of those claims have proven false.
President Obama bemoans the influence of big money and lobbying in elections, yet many of his top campaign bundlers are lobbyists. He got around his promise not to take their money with a very narrow definition of the term “lobbyist,” limiting it only to those registered with the U.S. Senate.
As a candidate, Obama promised to ban lobbyists from his administration, but several former K Streeters have found their way into senior positions on his staff. After the election, Obama quickly created a loophole in his pledge by granting waivers to the lobbyists he wanted on his team. Unsurprisingly, some who have left the White House have already found plush jobs with lobbying firms. There is a revolving door between Pennsylvania Avenue and K Street.
Obama pledged to increase transparency by publishing White House visitor logs, but did so only after dragging his feet and being sued for the records. His staff has also found a way to circumvent the logs by hosting meetings with lobbyists and special interests outside the White House at local coffee shops. For all the thousands of official White House visitors that the Post sifted through, how many more met with staffers secretly offsite?
As the Post notes, Obama recently said, “A lot of folks see the amounts of money that are being spent and the special interests that dominate and the lobbyists that always have access, and they say to themselves, maybe I don’t count.” President Obama certainly isn’t doing anything to allay these fears – in fact, his actions are perpetuating them. It seems that unless you are a lobbyist, you don’t have access. One White House visitor is even quoted as saying, “The whole process was interesting for me. It’s a little scary. You need a lobbyist to get a meeting.”
While President Obama’s hypocritical rhetoric on lobbying reform deserves the attention of all Americans who expect honesty from their leaders, it should surprise no one. On issue after issue, the liberal mainstream media covers for Obama. The media helped him get elected in 2008 and are actively doing it again this year. Obama is an accessory to this activity because any responsible politician with a conscience should have the decency not to make these kinds of promises in the first place. By now, we know Mr. Obama well enough to know that he can’t possibly believe his own words – he just knows it sounds good.