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

Senate committee approves controversial lobbyist

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/05/art.gatespentagon0205.gi.jpg caption="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. KLS

    Since McCain changed his mind after getting more information about Lynn - just maybe there's a lot more to this story than what's being reported.

    February 5, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. To Daisy in MN

    Daisy is missing the point. His vetting team may have goofed, but all President Obama had to do when all these scandals surfaced was to disqualify the individual. He didn't/. He approved multiple appointments that did not meet his standards or his policies.

    He has been in office less than 3 weeks and he is breaking campaign promises at the rate of one a day

    February 5, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  3. Jasmine in Germany

    In as much as Lynn might have know-how, he should not be eligible for the job, period. There are plenty of other qualified persons who would love to take on the challenge of this job. Lynn falls into the category of "corrupt". He may argue that he is/was a victim of the times and thought he was doing the best possible. We are now in the 21st Century which requires adjustment and a clear outlook towards the future of humanity. Our current president was elected based on intelligence and "change" . There should not be room for political prostitutes in our government any more.

    February 5, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. Wisest one of All

    Just more business as usual, politics as usual from the racist empty suit hussein nobama. Proven Fact!

    I guess from now one we will have to refer to him as the lying racist empty suit hussein nobama.

    February 5, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Flo


    February 5, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. jeff

    Mr Obama said he would not allow lobbyist to be in his white house on staff BUT it is OK for Obama to pick and choose how and when he will obide by his new form of ethics. It is Ok to follow i when it suits him and when it does not.
    CHANGE to the way Washington is rn.

    February 5, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. Rick Sutter

    What's wrong with lobbyists? Aren't they good for the economy?
    Go Barky! Yes we can!

    February 5, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. I hate Rush but.......

    The world according to Daisy, where NOTHING is Obama's fault, but sunny days and puppy dogs are all the messiah's doing...

    He did a great job picking his VP..............

    The same great pick who –

    Got the wrong President in 1929

    Said the TV was invented in 1929

    Lied about eating at a diner all the time considering that it was closed over 20 years ago

    Lied about getting shot down by enemy fire, when it was simply bad weather that forced the chopper down

    Said J O B S was a three letter word

    Indians all work at Dunkin Donuts

    Got caught plagarizing many times etc, etc, etc, etc, etc

    Sorry "Daisy" unlike your hero, she HAS run a business, HAS run a city and HAS run a state, all your hero can do is RUN HIS MOUTH.

    And it is being PROVEN all in just 16 days.

    One and done for Barry.


    February 5, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |

    so much for the change anyone can believe in..... he is going to have more lobbyists in his administration at this pace than bush had in his 8 years... it bewilders me that this is the govt. your president promised all of you who voted for him. let us not forget all of the tax cheats who he wants on his team..... "BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER"..... we are in real trouble... is it too early to "IMPEACH" this idiot??????

    February 5, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. Pat, CA

    Quite simply, Obama wanted to put together a "governing" team faster than Bush did - BIG EGO TRIP - nothing new for Obama, of course.

    Now the chickens have come home to roost, aka tax tax cheats and lobbyists!

    Like mom used to say, "Haste makes waste."

    February 5, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. German,Irish American

    Daisy- OBAMA selected these people not his vetting team. Problem is, this is the corrupt political environment Obama started in, and the only people in politics he knows and trusts. If the media had vetted Obama truthfully, we wouldn't have heard from him after Iowa. With his socialists ideas, Obama, or whoever it is who controls him, George Soros maybe, is becoming the most dangerous threat to capitalism and democracy in America. I am not saying he is a bad person, it is just the fact that he has proven over and over again, that without a teleprompter, he is not an intelligent speaker. About Sarah Palin, you must still be getting your uniformed and false "facts" from MSNBC and moveon.org. "The rednecks will throw a party to celebrate". On top of being one of the non thinking Obama sheeple, your comment on rednecks just proves democrats are the party of bigotry.

    February 5, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. No Incumbents 2010

    Well I'm glad there are NO lobbyist in THIS administration.
    YES WE CAN... speak from both sides of our mouth!

    February 5, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. Independant Thinker

    Well let's see, that makes 4 lobbyists now that Obama has appointed.

    And that is after Obama told the American people that he would NOT have ANY lobbyists in the White House.

    TAX CHEATS and LOBBYISTS are all democrats this bad???

    More of Obama's CHANGE that we can believe in.

    February 5, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. Dem in FL

    Of course. it's the corrupt leading the corrupt.

    Obama= pathetic

    February 5, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  15. Gordon Shumway

    Now, I forget, was this guy a tax cheat too? Or, did he help Clinton get all those "contributions" for pardons? Silly me, that's right – he's the guy that's tries to bride/sway the procurement guys in the Pentagon to buy his wares. I wonder if he can bribe himself and get paid both ways?

    February 5, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  16. George Ennis, Toronto, Canada

    I am a little confused.

    The US government needs experts/expertise in helping run the government. By definition almost lobbyists have the expertise; that is why they are lobbyists. Is there potential for conflicts of interest? Absolutely! But to have a blanket ban on hiring lobbyists makes no sense. What does make some sense is restricting the ability of people hired by the administration to lobby after they have left; but Obama is still President.

    It seems to me people are looking for a purity in their government officials which is simply not realistic.

    February 5, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  17. Scott L

    Of course they did, they are all corrupt!

    February 5, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  18. Change is coming to Washington

    Change is coming to Washington.

    I have a dream

    Ready my lips – no lobbyists

    Change is coming to Washington

    I have a nightmare

    Nancy, are you sure the new dog parks, the ATV bike paths, and the military golf courses which are closed to the public will get our economy stimulated?

    Who had that dream?

    Change is coming to Wahington. "Mr President, I have change; no wait, those are train tokens I don't need anymore since I moved into the VP House"

    February 5, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  19. No Incumbents 2010

    @ Daisy, MN

    What is your point? Apparently Obama cannot make good choices either- His staff obviously is full of morons. So go ahead and drink the koolaid in 2012.

    February 5, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  20. sick and tired

    Would everyone please shut up!!! We just spent 8 years in hell with Bush! I am so tired of the so-called conservative republicans waiting for President Obama to fail. These are the same people who so-call put COUNTRY FIRST!!! GIVE ME A BREAK IDIOTS. Not one of you complained about the Bush lies did you! Unless you really put your country first just SHUT THE HELL UP !!!

    February 5, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  21. John

    I would like to thank him as well

    Another terrorist being freed on your watch!

    Thank you for making this world a more dangerous place, one terrorist at a time.

    February 5, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  22. Dan

    Being the president is not like running for president criticizing a sitting president, life is harder than rhetorics and we realize it no less than two weeks into the new president term. Putting on oneself constraints that someone with an executive experience and Washington know-how could have told Obama not to commit to, to begin with!

    February 5, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  23. Complete Liar

    At least Bill Clinton and George W. Bush didn't lie to the public about having lobbyists in their administration.

    I expected Obama to go back on some of his promises, naturally, but his hypocrisy so far has been truly startling.

    February 5, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  24. Doug

    O should know by now that he is bound to fail in changing the government. He did not bring New People with him, he did not keep his campaign promises to ban lobbyists. It is his administration that is being judged now and I am sad because when we won the election we were going to Change the system and HE DID NOT KEEP HIS PROMISES to all of us.

    February 5, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. Jill

    Hey Barack, you just released a terrorist. Maybe you should put him in your administration, clean it up a little!

    NOBAMA 2012

    February 5, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
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