The Obama Revolving Door: White House lobbyist cashes out, becomes an industry lobbyist 

The Obama revolving door keeps spinning. Sean Kennedy, the man you paid with your tax dollars to foster relations on Capitol Hill, is now monetizing those connections. He's become a top lobbyist at the Air Transport Association.

From the ATA's announcement:

The Air Transport Association of America, Inc. (ATA) today named Sean Kennedy, who currently serves President Obama as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, as its Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs. Kennedy will be a key member of the ATA leadership team, increasing the advocacy reach of the trade organization for leading U.S. airlines....

"Sean is a recognized leader who is known for thoughtfully managing tough issues in close cooperation with both Republicans and Democrats. We look forward to his leadership in government affairs as we address the policy challenges and opportunities that face this industry, which is so vital to our economy."

As one of President Obama's top lobbyists in Congress, Kennedy has been the lead White House liaison to the Senate Commerce Committee and has also guided the administration's executive branch nominees through the confirmation process. Both at the White House – and earlier as a congressional aide – Kennedy specialized in working with moderate Democrats and Republicans to form coalitions, a skill that will prove critical in his new role.

If you remember, Obama was going to stop the revolving door between K Street and the executive branch. He obviously hasn't. Most of them are now in finance, or, as Obama would put it, they're "fat cats." Some names:

  • Deputy White House Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen, now a lobbyist for UBS.
  • White House Counsel Greg Craig, who went to Goldman Sachs
  • Budget Director Peter Orszag, who went to Citigroup
  • Labor Department aide Oscar Ramirez who represents Bank of America at the Podesta Group
  • Top Treasury Department aide Damon Munchus, who now lobbies for Citigroup and the International Swaps & Derivatives Association, among others.
  • Federal Housing Authority Commissioner David Stevens, is at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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Timothy P. Carney

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