But lobbyists and many of the businesses they represent say K Street is being unfairly demonized by a White House intent on scoring political points with scandal-weary voters. They warn that the latest policy will severely handicap federal regulators, who rely heavily on advisory boards for technical advice and to serve as liaisons between government and industry.
“It’s taken me years to learn what the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is,” said Robert Vastine, a lobbyist for the Coalition of Service Industries who also serves as chairman of a trade advisory board. “It’s a whole different and specialized world. It is not easily obtained knowledge, and they are crippling themselves terribly by ruling out all registered lobbyists.”
It’s great that the Obama administration is doing this. It is.
But the most interesting part of this, to me at least, is the defense that the lobbyists put up. It’s of a piece with the Kaplan/WSJ opposition to health care reform, with the general Village defense of torture, and so on.