Friday, May 8, 2009

More News on Outreach and Meetings Regarding the Recovery Act

Another update from Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, in the spirit of transparency as always:

The President has taken bold steps to enhance transparency in government, end lobbying abuses, and ensure that the government’s spending decisions are based on merit. As we’ve mentioned in a prior post, we continue to track the implementation of the President’s unprecedented transparency rules for lobbying contacts under the Recovery Act. Yesterday we had two meetings about the rules at which lobbyists were present. First, we met with representatives of groups from the reform community, including those generally supportive of the policy. A wide array of opinions was aired, with some indicating that they want the policy to stay as is, and others making a variety of suggestions for changes to make the policy even tougher. Later in the day, we met with representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who oppose the rules. We heard their concerns and engaged in discussion about their particular objections. We continue to believe that the rules are sound as a matter of law and policy, but consistent with the President’s instructions, we are using this 60-day implementation period to cultivate, and listen to, a wide range of views. Present at the reform group meeting were:

Nicole Austin Hillary
Director and Counsel, Washington Office
The Brennan Center for Justice

Meredith McGehee
Policy Director
Campaign Legal Center

Tara Malloy
Associate Legal Counsel
Campaign Legal Center

Sarah Dufendach
Vice President for Legislative Affairs
Common Cause

Fred Wertheimer
Democracy 21

Scott Amey
General Counsel
Project on Government Oversight

Craig Holman
Legislative Representative
Public Citizen

John Wonderlich
Policy Director
Sunlight Foundation

Lisa Rosenberg
Government Affairs Consultant
Sunlight Foundation

Daniel Schuman
Policy Counsel
Sunlight Foundation

Lisa Gilbert
Democracy Advocate

Lee Mason
Director of Nonprofit Speech Rights
OMB Watch

Sheila Krumholz
Executive Director
Center for Responsive Politics

Lloyd Leonard
Director of Advocacy
League of Women Voters

Norm Ornstein
Resident Scholar
American Enterprise Institute

Present at the meeting with the Chamber of Commerce were:

Steven Law
Chief Legal Officer

Judith K. Richmond
Associate General Counsel

Amar Sarwal
Staff Attorney

In addition to Norm Eisen, White House attendees included Preeta Bansal of OMB, Mike Mongan of the Office of the Vice President, and members of their staff.
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