Politico reported Tuesday that the Obama administration has upset the traditional pecking order of trade associations and business groups, realigning the relationship between corporate America and Capitol Hill. How has Obama done it?
President Barack Obama's approach...is to call out chief executives of individual firms both in favor of and opposed to his ideas. The unorthodox approach challenges corporate loyalties by marginalizing the business associations and those who sit in the lucrative top positions that run them.
The shakeup started with the stimulus package, Politico reported, when renewable energy companies found themselves on the receiving end of $20 billion in stimulus money, a marked change from the Bush administration's support for traditional energy industries.
In an attempt to get on the administration's good side, some groups are more carefully positioning themselves. Take PhRMA, for example, the drug industry group that cut an $80 billion deal with the administration on health care reform deal with the administration on health care reform. America's Health Insurance Plans, on the other hand, cooperated with Obama at first but now risks losing its seat at the table after coming out against legislation taking shape in Congress.
On another front, President Obama issued an executive order earlier this year banning lobbyists from being appointed to executive branch positions. And White House ethics honcho Norm Eisen has battled lobbyists in a series of letters defending the administration's decision to ban lobbyists from federal advisory panels and committees.
Lobbyblog has reported how this may backfire, as a rising number of lobbyists are dropping their registration, perhaps opting instead to influence policy as "senior advisers" and "consultants." In the second quarter of this year, 1,418 lobbyists deregistered -- way more than usual -- possibly as a result of Obama's executive order.