Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Most Transparent Transition in History Ushered in With a Camera Blackout

Washington lobbyists on Obama transition; "most open" transition fund-raising details
Lynn Sweeton November 12, 2008 7:36 AM
WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama's transition co-chairman John Podesta pledged Tuesday "to make this the most open and transparent transition in history." Meanwhile, let's see if the Obama team provides more than the legal minimum when it comes to details on how private money is being raised to help bankroll the transition operation.

"Under President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden, the American people will see a transition of government that is efficient, that is organized, that is bipartisan and more open and transparent than others before," Podesta told reporters at a briefing.

And if by chance you thought that Obama's anti-federal lobbyist drive -- a centerpiece of his campaign -- would mean that federal lobbyists would not work in his transition or White House, then you have not been listening to Obama's carefully worded campaign promises on the subject. Federal lobbyists are welcome -- it would be hard to staff a transition without them, they usually know a lot -- there are just restrictions on what they can work on. Podesta unveiled ethics guidelines covering federal lobbyists who work for the Obama administration.

The headquarters transition offices are housed in a government-owned building in downtown Washington.

Podesta's briefing drew RSVPs from more than 200 journalists, so many that the transition arranged for a listen-only conference call -- in order to pare down the number of reporters actually attending.

Still, about 140 showed up to see Podesta, a former Clinton White House chief of staff, standing behind a podium flanked with flags.

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