The Office of Management and Budget has issued final guidance on the June 2010 White House directive which banned lobbyists from serving on executive branch advisory boards and commissions. The guidance, which will go into effect Nov. 4, impacts only active federally-registered lobbyists, not those who have terminated their registrations or lobby only at the state and local levels. Also excluded from the ban: individuals employed by organizations that lobby but who are not actually registered themselves.
Lobbyists appointed prior to June 18, 2010 will be permitted to serve out the remainder of their terms on commissions and advisory boards, but agencies will have to request resignation from any individual who registered as a lobbyist June 19, 2010 or after. No waivers will be granted.
“Special interests exert this disproportionate influence, in part, by relying on lobbyists who have special access that is not available to all citizens,” President Obama said in the memorandum.
American League of Lobbyists President Howard Marlowe calls the move “shameful,” saying “It’s clear that the president has begun his reelection campaign by resurrecting Pokies professional lobbyists as his punching bag.”
“Although lobbyists can sometimes play a constructive role by communicating information to the government, their service in privileged positions within the executive branch can perpetuate the culture of special interest access that I am committed to changing,” Obama said in the statement.
Marlowe contends, “[The president’s] 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.”
OMB spokeswoman Meg Reilly told Politico Influence “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.”