The press release announcing the Obama campaign's new senior adviser slyly refrained from mentioning his past work as a veteran lobbyist, a detail that wasn't lost for long. Most of the attention after the hire of Broderick Johnson fell on his wife, NPR's Michele Norris, who will step down from hosting All Things Considered until after the campaign. But while the Obama campaigned emphasized his "20 years of political experience" in campaigns including Obama's (2008), John Kerry's (1998-2000) and the Clinton White House, what it left out is that a mere 26 weeks ago he was a registered lobbyist for law and lobbying firm Bryan Cave, which serves Microsoft, Ford, FedEx, Comcast and others. Now, it's a political reality that lobbyists permeate politics but when you try and pull a fast one on the press like that, they tend to react swiftly. Here's how they pounced:
Shame on you for not telling us! Politico's Mike Allen notes that "the Obama campaign's press release did not mention his lobbying experience" meanwhile Ben Smith titles the post of his blog post "Shhh, he's a lobbyist" ticking off his lobbying ties. On Allen's article, the mention elicited a response from campaign official who emphasized Broderick “is no longer a lobbyist — he deregistered in April — and he will not discuss any matters related to his former firm’s clients with the campaign.”
I thought you weren't a fan of lobbyists, Mr. President The Hill's Kevin Bogardus hauls out Obama's long-touted pledge to shun the influence of lobbyists. "Obama positioned himself as an enemy of K Street and special interests during his first presidential campaign. He repeatedly vowed that lobbyists would not run his White House and refused to accept campaign contributions from registered lobbyists."
We don't like what he's been up to Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones notes that Johnson lobbied Congress and the White House in support of TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which may cause environmental damage. She cites an environmentalist who assailing Johnson for taking "corporate cash to shill for this dirty and dangerous pipeline now has even more opportunity to whisper into the president's ear."
How would Occupy Wall Street feel about this? Hot Air's Ed Morrissey notes that Johnson "lobbied for a group that numbers among its members executives from Goldman Sachs, US Bancorp, JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America? Oh, and who else do we see on this list? Could it be …. Robert Benmosche, CEO of AIG? Yes, the very same man who blasted Congress in 2009 and bragged that he would refuse to appear if summoned to Capitol Hill. He also demanded a corporate jet from AIG while it was still in the process of being bailed out by American taxpayers."