Abby Phillip reports from her new place at POLITICO Influence:
The Obama administration today issued its final guidance on highly anticipated rules to ban federally registered lobbyists from serving on federal boards and commissions.
As expected, the regulations ban federal lobbyists from being appointed to federal advisory boards or commissions unless they become “de-registered” or “de-listed” as a lobbyist, or they do not report lobbying activity for three consecutive quarters. It prevents board appointments from engaging in lobbying activities after they have been appointed to a federal commission, and it also applies to workgroups or commissions that do not require a formal appointment process.
Obama last year directed his agencies to develop rules that would prevent or reduce the “undue influence of special interests” on the numerous advisory boards associated with the federal government. The directive is part of Obama’s larger lobbying reform goals that he kicked off on his first day in office.
“It’s clear that the president has begun his reelection campaign by resurrecting professional lobbyists as his punching bag,” Howard Marlowe, president of the American League of Lobbyists, wrote in a statement to PI. “His actions reflect a disdain for open government based on transparency and the free flow of information. It is political hypocrisy to say that those lobbyists who are not registered are welcome within the inner circle, while anyone who for whatever reason has registered as a lobbyist is shut out. This is not only bad public policy, it is shameful.”
Meg Reilly, a spokeswoman for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, shot back in her own statement to PI: “The president has taken steps from the start to close the revolving door between the federal government and special interests, to end the culture of powerful lobbying influence, and to dramatically expand the level of transparency in government. This guidance is an important step in those efforts, but we will continue to identify new ways to expand transparency and accountability and look forward to working with the public on this.”