Money and Democracy

Published — January 28, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

No lobbyists in Obama White House? Not quite


With the announcement of former Goldman Sachs lobbyist Mark Patterson to serve as chief of staff for Obama’s new treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, Patterson joins a growing number of former lobbyists in the new administration.

On the campaign trail, then-Senator Barack Obama said of lobbyists, “They won’t work in my White House.” He later amended that pledge to simply, “They are not going to dominate my White House.”

So, how does that translate now that positions are actually being filled? Of the 34 cabinet and sub-cabinet level appointees sent to the Senate for confirmation so far, three have previously been registered as federal lobbyists.

They are:

• Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, who served as a lobbyist for the National Education Association from 2006 to 2008.

• Eric Holder, the Attorney General-designate, who lobbied from 2002 to 2004 for clients including Global Crossings, Large Scale Biology Corporation, and the defendants in a resident physicians antitrust case.

• William Lynn, nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Defense, who lobbied for Raytheon from 2002 to 2008.

Other announced former lobbyists joining the administration include Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary William Corr, Middle East envoy George Mitchell, envoy for climate change Todd Stern, and Department of Justice Antitrust Division head Christine Varney.

Not dominating his White House, but the numbers are growing. Stay tuned: we’ll be keeping our eyes on this one…

Read more in Money and Democracy

Share this article

Join the conversation

Show Comments

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments