Obama ‘Safeguards’ Bailout From Lobbyists

Posted January 27, 2009 at 10:43am

President Barack Obama moved again Tuesday to make his administration more “transparent” — this time while ensuring that it becomes more opaque for K Street.

In another move to limit the reach of lobbyists, the administration announced new “safeguards” to prevent lobbyist influence over the distribution of the financial sector bailout money, including restrictions on contacts by officials with lobbyists in connection with decisions on disbursement of the funds.

“As one of his first acts as the 75th Treasury Secretary, Secretary Geithner outlined new, stepped up rules designed to limit the influence of lobbyists and special interests in the [Emergency Economic Stabilization Act] and ensure that investment decisions are guided by objective assessments in the best interest of the health and stability of the financial system,” the Treasury Department boasted in a statement Tuesday. “These new rules go beyond the approach taken under the EESA to date and will help ensure a new level of openness and accountability going forward.”

The administration will certify to Congress “that each investment decision is based only on investment criteria and the facts of the case,” according to Treasury. The administration also is promising to publish a detailed description of the review process for banks that are approved for funding.