Belmont Club

Changes

Barack Obama’s operation announced ethics guidelines which would guide who could fund the operation of his transition team. “The rules will bar political action committees, corporations and lobbyists from donating to the transition fund that Mr. Obama set up. Mr. Obama is expected to raise about $3.5 million to supplement the $8.5 million in taxpayer money he will receive for transition costs. Mr. Podesta said individual donations will be capped at $5,000.” But apparently the proscription against receiving money from lobbyists doesn’t preclude lobbyists from being on the transition team itself. The WSJ reports:

The Obama transition team released the names of 13 people on Wednesday who will direct a top-to-bottom review of federal agencies and another six who will lead teams that will review Treasury, State and Defense department policy, budget and personnel issues. … It includes four former lobbyists, three top campaign fund-raisers and two former employees of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae …

Mr. Obama’s transition advisers include Tom Donilon, a top lobbyist for Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage giant that helped precipitate the current financial crisis. Mr. Donilon will co-lead a team reviewing the State Department.

Co-leading the State Department audit will be Wendy Sherman, a principal of Albright Group, a firm founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Ms Sherman headed Fannie Mae’s charitable foundation between 1996 and 1997. …

The Treasury review will be led by Josh Gotbaum, a Clinton administration veteran and long-time investment banker at Lazard Freres, and by Michael Warren, the chief operating officer of Stonebridge International LLC, a Washington lobbying and consulting firm.


The transition itself has received input from many sources. WND quotes an Arabic language newspaper as saying the Obama campaign has been in contact with Hamas before and after the elections.

JERUSALEM – Hamas held a meeting in the Gaza Strip several months ago with aides to President-elect Barack Obama, but the terror group was asked to keep the contacts secret until after last week’s elections, according to a senior Hamas official. Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ chief political adviser in Gaza, told the leading Al-Hayat Arabic-language newspaper Hamas has maintained regular communication with Obama aides that even continued during the past week.

“We were in contact with a number of Obama’s aides through the Internet, and later met with some of them in Gaza, but they advised us not to come out with any statements, as they may have a negative effect on his election campaign and be used by Republican candidate John McCain (to attack Obama),” Yousuf told Al-Hayat.

Yousuf said Hamas’s contact with Obama’s advisers was ongoing, adding that relations were maintained after Obama’s electoral victory last Tuesday.

Ethics, man. Ethics.

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