Didn’t he say something about not turning policy over to lobbyists?
President Barack Obama says lobbyists won’t run his administration, but he picked an antitobacco lobbyist with ties to the pharmaceutical industry as the No. 2 official at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The nomination of William Corr — former executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, where he was a registered lobbyist until September — highlights the murkiness of Mr. Obama’s antilobbyist policy.
Mr. Obama requires employees to sign a pledge stating they will not “participate in any particular matter on which I lobbied within the two years before the date of my appointment.” Those rules prohibit Mr. Corr from working on tobacco issues, the White House says.
But Mr. Corr’s nomination raises another question: In an era when industries often make financial donations to public-interest groups that support policies that help those industries, when are public-interest advocates conflicted by the funding that supports the causes they advocate?
The problem isn’t hiring former lobbyists. The problem is telling the world that you won’t fill your administration with former lobbyists and then doing so.