“I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president.”
That was candidate Obama in the 2008 election. This week, President Obama appointed Google’s Vint Cerf to the National Science Board.
Vint Cerf is not officially a lobbyist. His job title at Google is “evangelist.” We happen to know that his gospel is the same as Google’s lobbying agenda, and that he preaches it to White House officials (including former Google lobbyist Andrew McLaughlin) who shape technology policy. We know this because some of those emails have come to the light through the Freedom of Information Act.
Cerf, I should add, gave about $43,000 to the Obama Victory Fund in this past election. Obama’s campaign wouldn’t have allowed these donations — and Obama wouldn’t have appointed Cerf to a board — if he were a registered lobbyist. But a lobbyist can avoid registering by either (a) spending less than 20% of his time on lobbying or (b) just counting on the fact that lobbying registration evasion is basically never prosecuted.