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White House Eases Ban On Lobbyists On Federal Boards, Committees

The White House is easing rules to allow lobbyists to serve on federal agency committees and boards so long as they represent nongovernmental entities like business groups or unions.

The changes would also pave the way for registered lobbyists who represent environmental groups to receive these appointments.

A preliminary report by the Office of Management and Budgets (OBM) was released Tuesday detailing the rule changes. Rules barring lobbyists from these boards and committees were adopted by the Obama administration in 2010.

In the report by the OBM, it specifically states that they are “now issuing revised guidance regarding the prohibition against appointing or re-appointing federally registered lobbyists to clarify that the ban applies to persons serving on advisory committees, boards, and commissions in their individual capacity.”

Which means the ban will “not apply if they are specifically appointed to represent the interests of a nongovernmental entity, a recognizable group of persons or nongovernmental entities (an industry sector, labor unions, environmental groups, etc.), or state or local governments.”

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, the director of Economics21 and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, thinks these boards and committees may be understaffed.

“My suspicion is they can’t find enough people to serve in these positions,” Furchtgott-Roth told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The rules as originally devised likely kept many people who were either qualified or ideologically sympathetic to the Obama administration from serving.

Observers think it is noteworthy that registered lobbyists will be allowed to serve if they represent labor union interests. While all presidents have their own agendas, Furchtgott-Roth argued, the Obama administration most likely “wants the results slanting towards labor.”

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