WaPo Reporter Asks Permission To Print Podesta Using Uncertified Lobbyists

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter
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Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin wrote a story mentioning John Podesta’s hiring of unregistered lobbyists in March of 2015, according to the latest round of WikiLeaks emails.

Eilperin warned Podesta several times, stressing the information was “pretty far down” in the story.”I just wanted to give you and John a heads up on a story that might run as early as Monday,” Eilperin wrote in her first email. “I mention that some WH officials have had ties to advocacy groups and activists before entering the WH even if they weren’t formally lobbyists.”

“Anyway, it is just one line well into the text of a long story, but I didn’t want it to catch you both off guard,” Eilperin concludes.

Eilperin tries another staffer the next day, writing to Frank Benenati to ensure that Podesta knew about the story. “I just wanted to make sure John Podesta had a heads up that his name will be in a story concerning the White House’s ethics policy, which could run on Monday.”

“This is just one line, pretty low down in the piece, but I don’t want him to be surprised since we never discussed it face-to-face. Can you just make sure he gets this note over the weekend?,” Eilperin asked.

Eilperin had a phone conversation with Benenati, where she stressed that she put the information into context, and buried the relevant information.

“Just to put it in context, pretty far down in the story I mention that there are some folks in the administration who were not registered lobbyists before entering the government, but had served as advocates in their capacity as senior officials in groups that received financial backing from firms or individuals with public policy objectives,” Eilperin assured.

“Let me know if there are any issues with it, but the donations from Steyer and Wyss are a matter of public record. I’m not mentioning the contract Podesta had with Wyss because you never got back to me on that, and I didn’t want to mention it without getting some sort of response in advance.  And the story will run tomorrow if it makes A1; otherwise it will hold,” she concludes.

Podesta finally responded, “Don’t get the context but all that is public record. Probably not worth worrying about, but What’s she accusing me of?”

Government regulations require individuals engaged in lobbying efforts to be officially registered, although in practice the rules are seldom followed. The Obama administration announced new ethics guidelines that directly forbid the practice.

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