Keeping lobbyists at arms length, sort of

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During the campaign, President-elect Barack Obama promised that no lobbyists would work in his White House. Apparently, that lobbyist-free zone does not extend to his transition team offices over on 6th Street N.W. This week, his spokesman announced that Team Obama will allow lobbyists to work on the transition team, provided they do not work on issues related to those they have lobbied on. (MSNBC’s First Read has a roundup of the coverage).

While this is a step back for Obama on the lobbyist issue, it doesn’t discount what Public Citizen ethics expert Craig Holman told the Boston Globe is Obama’s “very concrete effort to avoid what I consider a potentially corrupting situation.” The ethics guidelines for Obama’s transition team are tougher than any of his presidential predecessors. They include banning transition team members from lobbying the administration for one year after their work for Obama is done.