Barack Obama, Cypress Group, Damon Munchus, ethics pledge, Henry Paulson, Jeb Mason, K Street, revolving door, Treasury Department
This is a recording. Some things never change:
“Barack Obama has made cracking down on K Street a signature cause of his presidency. But a year into his tenure, the executive branch’s revolving door has already started to turn with one senior official making the exodus from administration insider to hired gun.
Munchus will be a test case for Obama’s tightened revolving-door policy, which prohibits former administration officials from lobbying the executive branch for the remainder of his administration.”
Damon Munchus, the principal liaison between the Treasury Department and Congress regarding financial institutions and capital markets, signed on Monday as a managing director with financial services lobbying boutique the Cypress Group, whose clients include some of the nation’s biggest banks [Citigroup, Freddie Mac, and Bank of America to name three].
“President Obama has consistently made clear that he will strive to lead the most open, transparent, and accountable government in history. Whether it is reigning in the influence of lobbyists in Washington, bringing unprecedented accountability to federal spending, opening doors to engagement with the American public, or shutting down the “revolving door” that carries special interest influence in and out of the government, the highest standards will be sought in every thing the federal government does.”
And this portion of the “pledge” all incoming members of the administration, including Mr. Munchus, signed:
“5.Revolving Door Ban — Appointees Leaving Government to Lobby… I also agree, upon leaving Government service, not to lobby any covered executive branch official or non-career Senior Executive Service appointee for the remainder of the Administration.”
Did you catch the loophole? “I agree not to lobby any executive branch official.” No mention of lobbying Congress, which falls into Mr. Munchus’ area of expertise:
“Munchus worked in the Office of Legislative Affairs, which deals directly with the Hill. His position as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Banking and Finance gave him intimate knowledge not just of the process but of key lawmakers…That’s invaluable information to investors.”
But in the spirit of bi-partisanship:
“Munchus’ arrival at Cypress Group comes on the heels of another addition to the firm, Republican Jeb Mason. Mason, former deputy assistant secretary for business affairs under then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, was tasked with business outreach and coalition building in the Bush administration.”
“With the acquisition of Munchus, Cypress can now boast to employ high-level officials from four straight Treasury Secretaries.”
And the band plays on….