Last updated: November 15, 2008 - 6:27pm
President-elect Barack Obama has imposed stricter conflict-of-interest restrictions on his White House transition team than any president before him. But a list of transition team members that his office made public on Friday includes a complicated tangle of ties to private influence-seekers. Among the full roster of about 150 staff members being assigned to government agencies between now and Inauguration Day are dozens of former lobbyists and some who were registered as recently as this year. Many more are executives and partners at firms that pay lobbyists, and former government officials who work as consultants or advisers to those seeking influence. At least one official initially involved in the transition appears to have been reassigned because of concern about his lobbying or legal work. Henry Rivera, a former Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communication Commission who was involved in planning for the agency's transition, has dropped out of that role because he had represented clients on communications policy in the last year, the newsletter Communications Daily reported Friday. Instead, on the list that was made public on Friday, Rivera was listed on the team handling science, technology, space and the arts. The rules permit people who have lobbied in one area to join an Obama transition team in another. With Rivera is Jim Kohlenberger, executive director of an advocacy group for Internet companies.
[Disclosure: Rivera is general counsel for the benton Foundation; Kohlenberger is a Senior fellow at the benton Foundation.]
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