Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Podesta Conference Call

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

Transition chief John Podesta is holding a conference call right now.

- Transition budget will be $12 million.
- $5 million has been appropriated by Congress already.
- No money will be accepted from lobbyists or corporations.
- There is a $5,000 limit and the list of contributors will be fully disclosed.
- Reports will be released on a monthly basis.

- Agency review teams will be set up in 100 areas by the end of the week
- Information to make strategic policy, budgetary, and personnel decisions.
- Senior appointees will have info for their confirmation process so they can hit the ground running
- Information on team info will be on change.gov as they get cleared.
- Both transition and administration will bring in people from a wide range of experience.

And a statement on the call from the Transition Team:

During a briefing today at the Presidential Transition Team headquarters, Obama Transition Co-Chair John Podesta announced the strictest, and most far reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history. The rules are:

· Federal Lobbyists cannot contribute financially to the transition.
· Federal lobbyists are prohibited from any lobbying during their work with the transition.
· If someone has lobbied in the last 12 months, they are prohibited from working in the fields of policy on which they lobbied.
· If someone becomes a lobbyist after working on the Transition, they are prohibited from lobbying the Administration for 12 months on matters on which they worked.
· A gift ban that is aggressive in reducing the influence of special interests.

Statement of Thomas Mann
Brookings Institution
"The ethical guidelines released today for the Obama transition are tough and unequivocal. They will prevent some honorable people with rich experience from serving in the transition. That is a real cost but it is more than balanced by the strong signal sent by the President-elect. He aspires to attract to government able individuals whose highest priority is to serve the public interest. This is a very constructive step in that direction."

Statement of Norm Ornstein
American Enterprise Institute
"Restoring trust in government is a prerequisite to enacting good policy and the tough choices the country needs. This ethics policy for the transition is a far-reaching, bold and constructive step to do just that. The policy may exclude some good people with deep experience in their fields, but it will also exclude those who see government service as a springboard to financial success, or who are more intent on pleasing future potential employers or clients than making tough choices in the public interest. As much as anything, this ethics policy is a statement about the tone and tenor of the Obama administration. It is a good sign."

Statement of John Podesta
Co-Chair of President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden's Transition Team
"President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to change the way Washington works and curb the influence of lobbyists. During the campaign, federal lobbyists could not contribute to or raise money for the campaign. Today, the President-elect is taking those commitments even further by announcing the strictest, and most far reaching ethics rules of any transition team in history."