WH: Obama Never Banned Lobbyists in WH, Just No ‘Special Access’
White House press secretary Jay Carney is asked about President Obama’s meeting with Microsoft’s top lobbyist:
REPORTER: “One of the participants in the President’s education roundtable with business leaders was Fred Humphries, whose Microsoft’s top lobbyist. Why isn’t that a violation of the President’s pledge to eliminate access and influence?”
Carney says there were “numerous participants” in the meeting, including a former Bush cabinet secretary. Carney then clarifies Obama’s so-called pledge: “The president’s promise was not to eliminate or prohibit lobbyists from entering the property [White House], but to not give them special access.”
In 2008, then President-elect Obama and his transition team said he would prohibit lobbyists from working in his administration or influencing policy decisions.
Earlier this year, NPR reported President Obama’s administration started giving “waivers” to certain lobbyists so they could get around his self-imposed ban.
Carney did not explain the difference between “special access” and participating in a meeting with the President. – realclearpolitics[views]