Posts Tagged ‘Bob Bauer’

Bauer Takes Over White House Ethics

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 by Vbhotla

Norm Eisen, who has been a thorn in the flesh of some Washington lobbyists, is heading to Prague as President Obama’s ambassador to the European nation. The administration’s “ethics portfolio” will be split, with the White House Counsel, Robert Bauer, taking the lead.

According to the Washington Post, “responsibilities for lobbying, transparency, government reform and a host of other government operations issues” will be transferred to the former head of Perkins Coie’s political law practice. Bauer has served as President Obama’s personal attorney, as well as holding positions at Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee.

Steven P. Croley, a law professor at the University of Michigan, will head a six-member legal team to cover ethics, government reform, whistle-blower protections, lobbying reform, and other issues.

Several groups have pointed to this as a “step back” for the administration, which started out with a strong emphasis on ethics. The Sunlight Foundation wrote that “instead of having single touch point within the Administration we will now be working with one person who already has more than a full-time job, and an academic with no government experience.”

And Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (which Eisen co-founded), was also not enthusiastic. “In our view, taking the full-time responsibilities of a high-level White House official and divvying them up suggests ethics, transparency and government reform will get substantially less attention, not more.” But others see this as a potential for good – Fred Wertheimer, who heads Democracy 21, said in the New York Times that “I hate to see Eisen leave because he’s done a phenomenal job … but I believe the pieces are there to continue with the commitment this administration has said it would make in this area.”

New York Times article is here. Sunlight Foundation and CREW statements are here and here. A Washington Independent article is here.

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, August 13th, 2010 by Vbhotla

Weekly newsAs Norm Eisen departs for Prague, the White House announces his replacement: nobody. Well, technically, Bob Bauer will take over Eisen’s “portfolio” at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and Steven Croley will also join the ethics team. Article at the Washington Post. Also: the Sunlight Foundation doesn’t take kindly to the announcement, listing several ethics promises on which they have yet to see follow-through from the Obama Administration. CREW (which Eisen co-founded) is also not enthused.

Some lawyers think Paul Magliocchetti’s indictment may truly mark the end of the PMA pay-to-play scandal.

Federal Judge Ellen Huvelle refused to throw out charges against accused Jack Abramoff associate Kevin Ring this week. Ring’s attorneys had asked Huvelle to vacate the charges after the Supreme Court’s decisions in three recent cases diminished the power of the honest services fraud statute, one of the statutes under which Ring was charged.

Rep. Maxine Watersethics charges were revealed – and she plans to fight back. Most of the charge appears to focus on the actions of Rep. Waters’ chief of staff, Mikael Moore, in trying to secure federal funding for OneUnited Bank, an entity in which Rep. Waters’ husband held financial stake. This case, in which Waters is being reprimanded for the actions of her staff, bears some resemblance to Rep. Charlie Rangel’s getting in trouble for his staff’s knowledge about the infamous trip to the Caribbean.

Speaking of Charlie Rangel, if you haven’t seen the rambling 30-minute House floor speech that he gave earlier this week, it’s time for a little Friday afternoon work-break.

Are you a corporation planning to use the Citizens United case to spend massive amounts of money in federal elections? Let what happened to Target Corp. in Minnesota be a lesson to you.

GOP Reps. Mike Castle (Dela.) and Bob Platts (Pa.) have teamed up to offer more power to the Office of Congressional Ethics. A new bill by the two Congressmen, titled the Accountability and Transparency in Ethics Act, would give subpoena powers to the mostly investigative body.  Read more at Roll Call, “Castle, Platts Propose Tougher Ethics Measures.”

Interesting little tid-bit from K Street Cafe: How and why does Congress use Twitter (video).

Quote(s) of the Week:

“With Mr. Eisen headed to Europe as an ambassador, his move from the White House ‘is the biggest lobbying success we’ve had all year,'” – Tony Podesta, Washington Post, Aug. 6

“Violations of campaign finance laws are clear cut and lend themselves to easy proof beyond a reasonable doubt… It sounds like this is both the beginning and possibly the end of the PMA matter in terms of prosecution.” – Jan Baran, on the Paul Magliocchetti indictment, Roll Call, Aug. 9

Weekly Lobbying News Round-Up

Friday, May 14th, 2010 by Vbhotla

CQ Politics reports on a favorite campaign game: “Kick the Lobbyist.” Former members of Congress who transitioned from the legislature to lobbying often face a tough road after deciding to hit the campaign trail again. (CQ Politics subscription required).

The White House, as part of their attempt at greater transparency in the executive branch, is posting ethics waivers and other types of disclosure, on their blog. Bob Bauer gets an ethics waiver, since in his role as President Obama’s personal attorney, and as the former attorney for the Democratic National Committee, he may have worked on issues of interest to parties on various sides of an issue. Read about the decision here (also includes a link to the text of the waiver).

An Atlantic interview with National Journal reporter Peter Stone, on his book on Jack Abramoff, Heist (2006), and his role in the new documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money. See our review of the new movie here. Interesting note: the Atlantic article contains a link back to the very first story on Abramoff’s casino schemes, from way back in 2004.

The Economist profiles a citizen-lobbyist – who ran into grassroots lobbying disclosure rules in Washington state.