watchdogs applaud possible new lobbying restriction

Roll Call wrote that the administration was considering banning lobbyists from participating on advisory panels.


Craig Holman of Public Citizen said such a rule would be a natural extension of the existing revolving-door prohibitions that prevent administration officials from working on issues on which they recently lobbied. It makes sense that the same conflict of interest concerns would apply to the panels, which administrations often rely upon to develop policy, he said.

“This is something to be applauded,” Holman said.

But it drew boos from Dave Wenhold, the president of the American League of Lobbyists, which fought the administration to change a policy that singularly prohibited lobbyists from talking to administration officials about stimulus projects.

Though he cautioned he had not seen any official policy, Wenhold said the administration was in danger of “cutting off its nose to spite its face” by barring qualified applicants from participating in advisory panels.

“I hope before they do anything they have the courtesy to give us a call,” Wenhold said.