Monday, January 26, 2009

Pres. Obama and the Lobbying Problem

While much has been made about the so called violation of Pres. Obama's rules on lobbying, one thing that has not been given much of a write up in all that was the entire mess was the role Robert Gates played in the selection of William J. Lynn, as his second in command.

The truth of the matter is that Gates himself asked Pres. Obama to put Lynn in as his 2nd in the Defense Department and to get the waiver for the ethics in the lobbying rules. However, everyone is blaming Pres. Obama not Sec. Gates, and no one is telling the entire story.

According to a story in Inside GNSS dated January 24, 2009 they stated the following:
President Barack Obama's nomination of William J. Lynn III, a senior vice-president at Raytheon Corporation, for deputy secretary of defense and his granting Lynn a waiver from the new administration's own rules on former lobbyists has provoked considerable criticism from some quarters.

As the number two official in the Department of Defense (DoD), Lynn would report directly to Robert Gates, the current secretary of defense who has continued in that position in the new administration, the only holdover from ex-President Bush's cabinet. Gates has come out strongly in support of Lynn, saying that he requested the waiver from the president.

It further states that his duties as second in command among other duties he would also serve as the co-chair of the Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (ExCom).

Sec. Gates made the decision to try to hire Lynn and his statement includes the following:

"People in the transition certainly recognized that it [Lynn’s Raytheon role] was an issue. And I interviewed Bill Lynn. I was very impressed with his credentials. He came with the highest recommendations of a number of people that I respect a lot. And I asked that an exception be made because I felt that he could play the role of a deputy — of the deputy — in a better manner than anybody else that I saw."

Gates has been “intimately involved” in the process of identifying and interviewing appropriate candidates for various vacancies throughout the department, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.

Morrell added that, before Obama made his announcement, Gates has been busy working with the president-elect’s transition team to identify appropriate candidates for various vacancies throughout the department and interview them personally.

“I think he feels as though . . . we’ve made some good progress toward identifying some very capable candidates to fill some very big jobs within the department,” Morrell said.

Lynn is no stranger to government work...he has worked in the DoD before. Here is what the article said about his past history in the service of the country.

Lynn returns to the capital as no stranger to either DoD or Congress. From 1997 to 2001, Lynn served as one of five under secretaries of defense, acting as the department’s comptroller and principal advisor to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) for all budgetary and fiscal matters.

Another significant DoD position held by Lynn was that of OSD director of program analysis and evaluation (PA&E) from 1993 to 1997, where he oversaw all aspects of the DoD’s strategic planning process.

Before entering the DoD in 1993, Lynn served for six years on the staff of Senator Edward Kennedy as liaison to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has also been a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University, on the professional staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses and served as the executive director of the Defense Organization Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

It looks to me that the man is highly qualified for the position. I think it is just another example of everyone jumping on the band wagon of the screw up machine.

It is only one. If it is something that happens over and over, that's different. Yes, it is unfortunate that it happened right away, but again, this was NOT the President's choice, it was Robert Gates' choice for his second in command. Yet, the President is the one that is taking the heat for it, and no one is defending him.

It just seems like once again, the media is holding him to a far different standard than they ever held shrub and his staff. But, we expected that didn't we??

No comments: