Secrecy shrouds U.S. lobbyist debate

Jan. 17, 2011 at 10:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Office of Management and Budget has not released comments on a lobbyist ban, frustrating some observers.

More than a month has passed since the deadline for comments on the ban on lobbyists serving on federal advisory boards. The agency was expected to release comments on the guidance soon, The Hill reports.

"Why OMB would not make the comments available is beyond me. It is inconsistent with the president's agenda of transparency and good government," said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch.

"Public disclosure of all submitted comments, of course, must be provided and I have no doubt it will be provided," said Craig Holman of Public Citizen.

In September 2009, Norm Eisen, then White House ethics chief, said federal agencies should keep lobbyists off their advisory boards and committees to "reduce the influence of lobbyists in Washington."

Several lobbyists protested the policy but last year President Barack Obama asked the office to craft official guidance.

With the deadline for comments past, the agency still has not disclosed who weighed in on the policy. It has no legal obligation to do so.

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