February 5th, 2009
06:11 PM ET
6 years ago

Senate committee approves controversial lobbyist

The Senate Armed Services committee has approved four nominees -- including William Lynn -- to serve under Secretary Gates at the Pentagon.
The Senate Armed Services committee has approved four nominees - including William Lynn - to serve under Secretary Gates at the Pentagon.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved all four Pentagon officials nominated by the Obama administration, including a Raytheon lobbyist whose potential conflict of interest led to objections to the nomination.

The nominations still need to be voted on by the entire Senate.

Ratheon executive William Lynn was nominated to be deputy secretary of defense, the number two position under Secretary Robert Gates. Lynn was given
special waivers so that he could be appointed despite President Barack Obama's
ethics rules, which would have seemed to make him ineligible to operate in that
key position.

Lynn was a senior vice president at Raytheon, which has billions of dollars in Defense Department contracts. It is is the maker of the Army's Patriot Missile system and the Navy's Tomahawk missile, and is developing a global positioning satellite communication system for the Air Force. Lynn oversaw lobbyists and did some lobbying of Congress himself.

As deputy secretary, Lynn would be involved in the process of budgeting and acquisitions, in addition to running the day-to-day operations of the Defense Department.

A number of senators, including the committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and the ranking Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, had expressed concern about what Lynn's involvement would be in decision making given the potential for conflict of interests.

After receiving more information from Lynn, both removed their objections.

Also approved by voice vote were Robert F. Hale to be Under secretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer, Michele Flournoy to be under secretary of defense for policy, and Jeh Charles Johnson to be general counsel.


Filed under: Pentagon
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. shannon

    hope and change, turns out to be the same old, same old!

    February 5, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. Lynn in NM

    I thought Obama said there would be no lobbyists. Hmmm. Another promise by the wayside. Doing good there. By the time 30 days is up, all of the campaign will be proven to be false. Business is being done as usual in Washington, DC – corrupt!

    February 5, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. he is NOT the chosen one after all

    the 'con' goes on...hahahahaha

    February 5, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Jackie in Dallas

    Sorry, Lynn, you should get the military boot. Raytheon has too much influence as it is.

    President Obama, please tell me that this isn't the only person qualified for this job!

    February 5, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    GOPers complaining becaue only Haliburton is supposed to have lobbyists in the Pentagon..in 3...2...1...

    February 5, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. JL

    I really like most of the changes that the President is making. However, as Campbell Brown said, if you're not going to follow your own rules, don't make them.

    William Lynn should have never been nominated and/or the rule should have never been made.

    February 5, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Judy

    Tsk, tsk, bend your own rules, break your own rules and make your own rules...that is the new administration. Tell me again what in the world was wrong with Bush compared to this guy?

    February 5, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. JL

    I really like most of the changes that the President is making. However, as Campbell Brown said, if you're not going to follow your own rules, don't make them.

    William Lynn should have never been nominated and/or the rule should have never been made.

    February 5, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Who Knows Why

    OH MY!!! Say it isn't so. Obama broke his promise about not employing lobbyists? Looks like Washington "CHANGED" Obama rather than the other way around, and it didn't even take 2 weeks. Do anything, Say anything to get elected and then you can break all your promises.

    February 5, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Dems be dopes

    "Change you can believe in"

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    February 5, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Miles

    What do you have to say for your savior now Dangercrats?

    Too early for flip flops BHO, it's not even spring yet.

    February 5, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. no corporate politics

    Obama specifically said there would be no lobbyists hired in his administration!

    That would be a lie, then.

    Savior of the country runs into the Reality Train.

    February 5, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    William Lynn? Fine... what about Daschle? I have heard many reports that he would have been the best man for the job with his connections in Congress as well as experience! This is getting ridiculous! There is a limit to what these stupid republicans can have say on... these are the ones who approved Brownie... and the rest of the unqualified cronies of George Bush! I'm surprised the didn't approve his house keeper!

    February 5, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. S Callahan

    Say it aint' so......there should be NO exceptions....the mandate of the public vote has said so!

    February 5, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Texas Teacher

    Get over it.... you lost... stop whinning! Bush gave us so much? Is that what you are trying to say? Get a life... Anything Obama does will be better than the mess we are left with!

    February 5, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I am going to withhold judgment on this because I supported and voted for this president. However, my initial reaction after William Lynn was nominated was to wonder about what the president is up to.
    Still, nothing he has done to date compares to what the last president did wrong, and Obama has already done more good things than Bush did in his whole 8 years.

    February 5, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. fearful for my country

    Let's just break all the ethics rules and let all the crooks in. Look at what you elected "president"....did you think his pals were any better?

    February 5, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. Rick in WA

    Reality sets in. The clouds appear. The shine of the dream goes out of his eyes.

    February 5, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Willis, Texas

    Drop this man - he should not be in the administration as it reminds me of Cheney and Halliburton!!

    February 5, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. an american first

    Yes sir – it is absolutely the change we can believe in. This story is trully an example of that change.

    In Bush presidency (or any other in recent times), we used to count the White House staffers who were NOT lobbyists. In Obama presidency, we are keeping count of people who are lobbyists. Absolutely a "Change we can believe in".

    Everyone in American Politics know that you can't just turn the switch on to off on these things. Pres. Obama have come the closest than any other President in the history though. Thank you sir..

    February 5, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. Grace, MD

    Okay... one down, one more to go.

    FOCUS PEOPLE, FOCUS!!!

    February 5, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. BB

    Hey – Cheney moved just across the river to McLean, VA. Bet he becomes he chief secret lobbyist in DC. Wyoming must have told him not to come there

    February 5, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. Sye the Pychic

    Worst picks yet,were in deep trouble now.

    February 5, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. Bipartisanship

    Don't get your panties in a bundle just yet. ALL Presidents have to do what they gotta do. I just hope the Repubs don't attack Obama the way the Dems attacked Bush.

    February 5, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. Grace, MD

    People STOP the complaining and whining.

    President Obama is doing the job we HIRED him to do. There are going to be a few nips and tucks here, but stop with all the whining.

    Jesus, you would think you folks live in a "perfect world". Get over yourselves and stop complaining about everything and anything.

    February 5, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
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