The Obama Pledge Banning Lobbyists From Access
The same apparently does not apply to a Special Policy Advisor which is the role that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has assumed for Alston and Bird, a lobbyist firm with many health care clients. Manure by any other name still smells like.... manure.
This is the CHANGE that we have been delivered by President Obama. A reprieve from Washington business as usual right? Transparency in the government is to be the rule, correct? What a load of crap.
In what can only be termed a classic Washington story that we have seen over and over again, Tom Daschle, forced to pull his nomination for Heath Secretary in the Obama Administration due to "tax troubles", aka tax evasion, fines and potential jail time for you and me, still has the ear of the President (Oval Office visit Friday), meets with White House staff and has access to other Administration personnel while his firm is representing clients in the HMO, hospital and drug industries.
All because he goes by the name of Special Policy Advisor and not the lobbyist that he is. Where is the outrage from the media in the fact that not only do lobbyists have access, but access to the Oval Office and the President?
A Birds Eye View Of Washington Business As Usual
(Washington Post) "...Since returning to the private sector, Daschle has served a dual role on health care. He has informally advised high-ranking administration officials, including senior aide Pete Rouse and health-care reform czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, who took over half of the job Obama created for Daschle. On television shows, in speeches and at symposiums, he has been a vocal advocate for a universal coverage plan that includes the public insurance option.
But Daschle is also working closely with lobbyists, through his job at the Alston and Bird law firm, as an adviser to United Health Group, one of the nation's largest insurance companies. The insurance industry opposes the public option.
White House aides said that Daschle's corporate work does not present a conflict of interest and that Obama counts the former Senate leader as a confidant. "The president knows and expects that, when he asks Senator Daschle a question, that he's getting the opinion of Senator Daschle and not anybody else," press secretary Robert Gibbs said..."
And Gibbs said it with a straight face.