When Reform Meets Reality in Washington DC

On Day One, U.S. President Barack Obama signed two executive orders. One restored the presumption of disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, unless "forseeable harm" would result; made presidential records more accessible; and limited claims of executive privilege over information. "Obama has struck a quick and prominent victory for government openness," concludes the Columbia Journalism Review. The other order restricted interactions between executive agency appointees and lobbyists, and sought to slow down the government-industry revolving door. While this order is "the most aggressive attempt by an administration to rein in lobbyists," it has a few loopholes, according to Politico.com. In addition, the order clashes with Obama's choice of recent Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn to be Deputy Secretary of Defense. The Senate Armed Services Committee has halted its consideration of Lynn, until the administration "waives its new ethics rules in this case," reports The Hill. William Corr, the nominee for Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, also needs a waiver, as he "lobbied that same agency through most of last year as an anti-tobacco advocate," reports Associated Press.