In yesterday's hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) said that Deputy Defense Secretary nomineeWilliam J. Lynn III could not be confirmed until he responded to questions raised by Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) on January 26 about what impact the committee's ethics rules will have on his new position. In the letter, which POGO has posted here, Senator McCain writes:
Against that backdrop and to inform whether I can support your nomination, I would like to establish what impact, if any, those restrictions might have on your ability to discharge fully your responsibilities as Deputy Secretary. Accordingly, by Friday, January 30, 2009, please provide a detailed listing of what matters and decisions (under the Committee's ethics standards that apply to all nominees and any other applicable restrictions) from which you believe you will have to disqualify yourself and an explanation of how those matters differ from those you would have been required to disqualify yourself from had a waiver to the President's new Executive Order not been issued on your behalf. (emphasis POGO's)
On January 22, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) congratulated President Barack Obama for his Executive Order that implemented strong restrictions against the revolving door between industry and the government, but urged him to withdraw former Raytheon lobbyist Lynn's named from consideration.
"It is because we believe so strongly in the positive impact that such a change will have that we urge the President to withdraw his nomination of William J. Lynn III as Deputy Secretary of Defense. President Obama should not compromise his standards and the effectiveness of the Department of Defense by allowing a top defense industry lobbyist to receive a waiver from these standards. The defense industry is in a class of its own among all of the industries that have had a pervasive stranglehold on public policy to advance their own financial interests," said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), Government Accountability Project (GAP), and Public Citizen have also joined POGO's call to President Obama to withdraw Lynn's nomination.