Not sure what I think about this, but former TARP czar Neil Kashkari, appointed under President Bush, told the TARP Inspector General that he thought that the lobbying rules announced earlier this year for TARP recipients were political in nature. The lobbying rules have yet to be fully written and implemented, but are expected to closely track those imposed on lobbyists seeking stimulus funding. It appears that this is simply Kashkari’s opinion on the rules and not any admittance of fact.
The Washington Times reports the statement by Kashkari in a way that makes it seem that he is revealing something more than his own opinion. (This makes me think of this great post by Michael Scherer at the Time Magazine blog on the media’s obsession with simulacrum.) That being said, Kashkari’s opinion on the rules does raise questions considering the Treasury Department has yet to announce a full set of rules for lobbyists and has yet to implement them nearly eight months after announcing them.
Considering that the administration also announced rules for the stimulus spending that were met with intense opposition from lobbyist groups, the likelihood that these rules were announced solely for political purposes seems doubtful. What I’m really wondering is: why has the Treasury Department slow-walked the implementation of lobbying rules and who is behind that?