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. JLT, TX

    Daisy MN – I have to disagree with you. I don't think Palin will spend the next four years learning to read and write. She thinks she already knows it all. Poor girl.

    February 5, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    Daisy, MN February 5th, 2009 7:42 pm ET
    I agree Barack's team has a vetting problem, but it's his staff. He is too busy to vet everyone.
    -----------------–
    You are correct it is HIS staff. What you are failing to recongize is he is responsible for HIS staff. He put HIS staff in place! Obama 2012, already?? I am not thrilled about all the tax cheat in the first 20 days much less give him 2012!!

    February 5, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  3. Joe in NJ

    "Daisy, MN February 5th, 2009 7:42 pm ET

    I agree Barack's team has a vetting problem, but it's his staff. He is too busy to vet everyone. "

    Sorry, but Obama should know exactly who's been vetted and what issues they bring to the table. Frankly, I'm surprised that his staff even vetted this guy since he went against Obama's ethics rules. It looks like Obama's staff doesn't care. And it's starting to look like Obama doesn't care as well.

    February 5, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  4. Mr. Blackwell

    Hey, give the hypocrite a break! Besides the lobbyists and tax cheats, he has appointed a couple of RINO's to keep up his image. Of course, they'll never be heard from again.

    February 5, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. Erphan from LA

    I wonder how much went to that mystery account in the Czech Republic to nominate Lynn!

    February 5, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. Evan

    Just Words – No Lobbyist! Just Words! Just a Waiver. Change you can only believe in becuase it takes faith when their is no hard evidence!

    February 5, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. indy

    Great change. It's always important to make an exception for exceptional people and apparently the lobbying firms got to them first. I'm so glad the lobbyist won't be setting the agenda, they'll just be approving it, after not paying their taxes.

    February 5, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. bsmith171

    he's one of them like obama a washington insider harping on 'change'=chump change.

    February 5, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I have an idea. All the people criticizing Obama should take a vow that they will not benefit from any of the good that Obama does for this country. It's amazing that they let Bush run this country into the ground without saying a thing, but now they are political critics!
    Simply amazing.........or is it amazingly simple?

    February 5, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. John Wesley

    Only the first of my lies and subterfuge that will define the regime of his Highness Osama.

    Anyone who expected anything else from this product of corrupt chicago politics, is either stupid, blind or dead, and I bet there are a lot of dead ones who voted for him.

    February 5, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Matt

    Obama likes rules unless he has to play by those same rules himself.

    Change, you should have told Obama to keep it.

    February 5, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. tess

    yup – this is change all right! for the worse !

    February 5, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. m.mcc

    Let's see here...wasn't the great serenade of praises sung during the campaign by the drooling Obama cheerleaders that this guy is such a great leader and has such great organizational skills and great judgement? Hmmmmm....

    Now the tune has changed to "Oh, it's NOT Barack's fault, it's his staff that screwed up" or "Give him a break, he really didn't mean to appoint tax cheats and lobbyists" No, give ME a break!!

    Wake up America, we've been hustled! Our President is a hypocrite and a liar.

    February 5, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  14. Cheney

    Glad I sold my Haliburton and bought Raytheon.

    February 5, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Jon in CA

    Article states,

    "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."

    BLASPHEMY!! How dare anyone question the decision of the messiah!!

    (eyes rolling)

    I don't know what's worse – the idiot who promised to "heal the oceans" and "fix broken souls" ... or the lemmings who blindly follow him?

    Obama is a fraud – and you suckling democrats refuse to call him out on nominating tax-cheats and lobbyists with conflicts of interest!

    February 5, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. kevin

    This is for the good of the country. He needs to bend and break rules sometimes because its what right. No taxes, no problem. Lobbyist, no problem. Bad ethics, no problem. Do what I say not as I do. Its not wrong, he's "historic."

    February 5, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. kevin

    It wouldnt be as terrible if his whole campaign wasn't based on changing Washington. He came out two weeks ago and said he was going to get the lobbyist out of Washington. I guess we changed from having some crooks to more crooks in Washington.

    February 5, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. Judy from PA

    Can you say "Halliburton"??

    February 5, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. John in Lincoln

    Daisy, really? That's your answer to another broken campaign promise in the first two weeks? That his staff has a vetting problem? You think Obama didn't know Lynn was a defense industry lobbyist?

    Did you vote for this guy because of what he SAID he stood for: New Ethics Standard with appointees (broken at least 3-times so far), Post all bills for public consumption for 5-days before signing into law (broken the first time out of the gate), greater transperency in his administration than in any previous administration (biggest joke of all so far) or was there another reason?

    And, really, McCain and Palin references? Still? Obama is the president now. Not a candidate. He gets to be measured by what he does from now on. That's how it works. If you care one iota for this country you will keep paying attention and not making excuses.

    February 5, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  20. Pinckney

    Liberals always change the subject and start attacking Sarah and John when Obama does not live up to his promises. I am sitting here watching a speech by Obama from a retreat in Virginia. The republicians did it last week and the dems this week. Spending our money while they attack private companies for doing this. I see a double standard here. To much talk and no action.

    February 5, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  21. stag

    This makes Cheney and Halliburton look like a grade school lemonade stand. BHO is starting to W look good.

    BHO has turrned out to be nothing but another liar–but we shouldn't be surprised. Impeach this guy now.

    February 5, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. Doug

    Daisy: Apparently when you can't defend the actions of our new President, who clearly had no intentions of keeping lobbyists out of his administration, you try and change the subject. LMAO

    February 5, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  23. Ernie is LA

    HELLO, Where are all of the Dems comments? HELLO, HELLO

    February 5, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. Another broken promise by Obama

    "I will not have one lobbyist working in my white house" Barack Obama from the campaign trail.

    And now we have the "exception" the rule.

    We had Obama saying that his white house would be above reproach. But then he named a tax cheat to the Treasury under the "Exception" to the rule policy.

    So. now I understand what Obama meant when he said "Real change is coming to Washington. Yup – make a rule, then change it.. Make a policy, then change it. Make a campaign promise, then change it.

    February 5, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. KLS

    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.

    Maybe, there's a lot more to this story than we are being told.

    February 5, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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