This Just In…

Published: November 11, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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John Podesta, transition co-chair for President-elect Obama, announced new ethics guidelines regarding lobbyists and the transition team.

According to a report from The Fix, a political blog written by Chris Cillizza on washingtonpost.com, Podesta called the new ethics rules an example of “the most open and transparent transition in history.”

“Podesta added,” Cillizza reported, “that members of the transition team will sign an ethics code laying out the specific principles announced today.”

As outlined in the briefing –

  • Federal Lobbyists cannot contribute financially to the transition.
  • Federal lobbyists are prohibited from any lobbying during their work with the transition.
  • If someone has lobbied in the last 12 months, they are prohibited from working in the fields of policy on which they lobbied.
  • If someone becomes a lobbyist after working on the Transition, they are prohibited from lobbying the Administration for 12 months on matters on which they worked.
  • A gift ban that is aggressive in reducing the influence of special interests.

“These are the strictest ethics rules ever applied,” Podesta said.

Obama’s web site has made ethics an important issue in his campaign and vowed to “Shine the light on Washington Lobbying; Shine the Light on Federal Contracts, Tax Breaks and Earmarks; Bring American Back into their Government,” and “Free the Executive Branch from Special Interest Influence.”

While there remains much to do, this afternoon’s announcement makes clear that the future president isn’t waiting to take office before taking some important first steps in returning trust to government.

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