February 5th, 2009
06:11 PM ET
12 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. Anais

    I am sick and tired of watching John Mccain and the republicans attack President Obama on every opportunity they have. Lets stop the partisan politics of yesterday that didnt work for Jorge Bush and try to restore our great country. People are hurting right now, trying to get money to buy food and pay the rent lets stop these stupid attacks CNN!

    February 5, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Scott, Tucson

    There goes Obama's campaign pledge out the window. Should we be surprised?

    February 5, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  3. Jim

    Funny how you never see the extreme left comment on these articles. Their silence defines them.

    February 5, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  4. Ray Ray

    8 years of Dems screaming: CHENEY...HALLIBURTON...CONFLICT OF INTEREST....

    10 Days in office Obama nominates Lobbyist William Lynn with major conflict of interests. Democrats yawn.

    Tax Cheats and Lobbyists = New Obama Administration... thats "change" Chicago style I guess.

    February 5, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. Maggie, VT

    Barack also said he would not be the kind of president who wouldn't be flexible just to save face. If he wants this guy, then he must be good. Especially if he's making an exception. Barack cares more about this country than Dick and George. He cares about regular people and that's something we haven't seen in a long time.

    If my president wants this guy in his administration than so be it.

    For all you naysayers–you're the very ones who put George Worst President Bush in office twice. I think it's time for you to lay low.

    SHhhhhhhhhhh, don't say another word. You really can't talk. Not after 8 long years of hell.

    February 5, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

    The "MUTHA" of all lobbyiest is going to be confirmed.

    Change you can believe in, the DC way. Nothing changes. Just watching these buffoons in Washington, barely able to walk, debating our future, costing us millions by the second as they get their blowhard points on TV, is disappointing.

    Until we vote all these crackpots out of office there will be NO change. Obama has already shown that no matter how eloquent ones speaks of eithics and hope, once you get the votes and are elected and then it is BAU...


    February 5, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. DIZIZI31

    Of Course they would. It's all part of Obama's great plan and the Senate Republicans are too blind to see it.

    February 5, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. Santa Maria

    Change isn't what Obama said. He said chains...chains around your ankles and wrists as he leads America into a new form of slavery, corruption, and Chicago style politics!

    February 5, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. Andy

    Lets see this one owes back taxes, this one another tax problem, oh this one uses pay to play tactics, this one her husband is taking global donations to pay for his library, and this one will no longer be a lobiest but he's good enough to serve in Obama's cabinet. We trust these people to lead our country out of dark times. Poor judgement by Obama for sure. Hope n change, hope n change.

    February 5, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. From PA

    lol...this is the change he promised...lol

    February 5, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. Scout, MN

    George Worst-President-Bush is gone, that is true. But he has remnants of the erosion of America all over the place. Barack has to look high and low just to get the viruses out of the system. George did us wrong, and no one can dispute that. He didn't protect the country. He said that the country hasn't been attacked. Hello–there was 9/11. And Clinton also had one attack. The way I see it, Bush and Clinton are even.

    Barack has all my prayers that the country will not be attacked again. But if it is, he won't be the first or the last president to see such a thing.

    Don't allow the Bushes to psych you out. Georgie was horrible for this country and Cheney was a dictator. We are better off without them.

    February 5, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. he is NOT the chosen one after all

    you can fool some of the people all of the time and some of...........................

    February 5, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. The Truth

    lolol...lobbyists, tax cheats, gypsies, tramps and thieves....change you can believe in!

    February 5, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  14. ken

    Thugs taking over the white house.
    He is going to make Jimmy Carter look like a great prez. Osama the dictator. I am voting for Putin nex election

    February 5, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. annie - Palin 2012

    I am confused! obama said he was banning all lobbyist, what happened?

    February 5, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Glenda, PA

    Leave Barack alone. He's doing just fine. You are the very same people who put George-Worst-President-Bush in office–TWICE. And you've got something to say? I don't think so.

    February 5, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. Barb

    Why am I not surprised.

    February 5, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. Niecy, DE

    For the Record:

    The party of the worst president in American history should be silent. We don't want to hear from Republicans who thought their last president was a great man. He wasn't. He was a whiney, sniveling school kid who couldn't cut the mustard. The job was WAAAAAY over his head. Unfortunately thousands of our soldiers had to die before you people could see that. Shameful.

    February 5, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. Eric - Portland Oregon

    Just remember 46% of the country didn't go for hook, line, and sinker.

    February 5, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  20. Daisy, MN

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

    But make no mistake about it, when it came time to select the right key person, such as a VP–he did an excellent job. Unlike John-how-many-homes-do-I-own McCain and Sarah Faiin

    I know exaclty what she'll be doing in the next 4 years. Cramming for her legitimacy test. She'll learn to read, write, and not use the word "also" so much. She'll stop using "ain't" and "you betcha", and when she does, the rednecks will throw a party to celebrate. This will be great, except then you'll have to teach her geography, and that won't be easy. Especially when she thinks South Africa is a region, and not a country. Whoooboy!

    Barack Obama 2012!

    February 5, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  21. Rick

    So Mr. Obama how many broken promises is this, , dont know, lost count, just another lie to the American people.............or will you say this is an exception............like the other one today with the 6K tax problem............more crooks, and the DEMOCRATES complain about Bush, ..........HA

    February 5, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Lets let him have his team and see what he can do with them before we start with the critical comments.......they have to be better than the people Bush surrounded himself with.

    February 5, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. LB

    Hell yah..........Lets bring some more contracts to Tucson, lol.

    February 5, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Tina, NC

    I love the Republicans fake outrage. Where was your outrage on lobbyists when you pulled the lever for McCain???

    February 5, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Independent


    Man....it keeps getting better and better. I wish I had a nickel for everytime people kept saying, "change." Now.......you people get nothing...and the news media keeps quiet about it.

    we are doomed.

    February 5, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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