Recently, the White House and a trio of groups — American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Citizens for Responsibility in Washington (CREW), and the American League of Lobbyists (ALL) — have been in conflict over new rules on lobbying the administration in relation to the stimulus bill. On Friday, Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, hosted a meeting with representatives from these three dissenting organizations. While the meeting may not have resolved the policy differences between the two sides, it did provide a moment for White House to live up to the standards that they are trying to set.
The White House blog carries an update on the meeting from Eisen, in which he notes the topic of discussion, the places of agreement and disagreement, and the people attending the meeting. This is very good example of how meetings with government officials should occur — with full transparency of who is taking part and what is being discussed. Great to see that a meeting to discuss the necessity of lobbying rules can be a shining example for lobbying contact disclosure.
Eisen also noted that the administration is looking “to hear from everyone affected during the 60-day initial evaluation period for the stimulus lobbying restrictions.”