Stories From Washington’s Revolving Door

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Peter Orszag

Budget Director Peter Orszag looks on as President Barack Obama meets with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington in 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The Obama Administration

While campaigning in 2008, President Obama declared that lobbyists would be unwelcome in his administration: “They will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president,” he said. On his first day in office, he issued an executive order requiring new staffers to sign a pledge that they will not work on any issues related to former employers, former clients, or former interests on which they lobbied. But the order had a waiver clause — essentially, former lobbyists could join the administration if the administration issued a waiver and said it was ok. That meant it was business as usual.

The Center for Responsive Politics highlights 380 members of Obama’s administration who have passed through the revolving door during Obama’s first term. That’s roughly in line with George W. Bush’s administration — the Center’s list for Bush’s two terms highlights 662 members. Here are a few notable names on the Obama administration list:

Peter Orszag served as the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, and was then hired by Obama to direct his administration’s Office of Management and Budget. In 2010, he left that job, and in 2011, he became vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup.

Colin Crowell served, during the first years of the Obama administration, as a senior adviser to the chairman of the FCC. Crowell had a twenty-year-long career in politics, but left in 2010 to become a lobbyist for some of the media companies he once helped regulate. In 2011, he became head of global public policy for Twitter.

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