President Obama said in his State of the Union last night: "It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress." There's nothing stopping Mr. Obama, today, from issuing an executive order requiring any executive branch employee to instantly disclose on the Internet any time they are contacted by a lobbyist. Why rely on on the lobbyists rather than on the administration for the disclosure, and why wait for some kind of congressional action or law rather than just going ahead and doing it? The president had said he was going to do this in relation to stimulus spending, though implementation has been spotty. If the administration doesn't want to go all the way on this, it could start with just disclosing the communications that the executive office of the president and the vice president have had with Hyatt Brownstein Farber Schreck LLP. This release from the Campaign Finance Institute reports that Norman Brownstein pledged to raise $1 million for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver at which Mr. Obama was nominated, over and above Mr. Brownstein's law firm partner Steven Farber's efforts as a co-chairman of the convention host committee. Hyatt Brownstein represents, among other clients, First Wind, Apollo Investment Management, and Merck. Or they could start with Wellford Energy Advisors, named for Harrison Wellford, who in 2008, "advised then Senator Obama on White House organization and strategic planning for the Presidential transition during the pre-election period and served as transition advisor to Michelle Obama and Senator Biden." Its clients include Fisker Automotive, Al Gore's electric car company, which got a $529 million loan from the Obama administration's Energy Department.
Is it just me or would be hearing more in terms of investigative journalism and Congressional hearings about this sort of thing if this were a Republican administration?