White House to Reverse Ban on Lobbyists

The White House is set to partially reverse an administration-imposed ban on registered lobbyists serving in government. According to a copy of the new rule posted on the Federal Register site, lobbyists will be able to serve on more than 1,000 boards, panels, and commissions related to executive branch decision-making. The Obama administration initiated the ban on lobbyists in June 2010. The new rule says that lobbyists can only act in a “representative” capacity on behalf of private corporations, not as citizens or the government. Several lobbyists had filed suit against the ban, claiming it violated their constitutional rights. The reversal calls into question Obama’s efforts to combat the influence of K Street. Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the government watchdog group Public Citizen, said “It really shows [the Office of Management and Budget] backpedaling on Obama’s policies dealing with ethics and lobbying activity,”