Obama's $12 Million (Lobbyist Free) Transition


At a briefing before well over 100 reporters, John Podesta, the co-chair of Barack Obama's White House transition, announced three priorities for the interim period and laid out just how comprehensive the effort would be.



The transition team will operate off a budget of $12 million ($5.2 million has been appropriated by Congress, the rest will be raised separately through individual donations of under $5,000), employ 450 people and operate out of offices in Washington D.C. and Chicago. Already, Podesta reiterated, the team has granted 100 interim security clearances.



As for the priorities -- they resembled the same major interests Obama announced repeatedly on the campaign trail.



• The team, Podesta said, would be "laying the groundwork in stabilizing the economy and putting Americans back to work."

• They "also will be engaged as is required and necessary in national security issues that remain constant throughout the transition."

• And, of course, there is "the task of building a government."



Podesta called for an accelerated process when it comes to appointing potential cabinet members, saying that past "expedited" efforts by president-elects were not fast enough for this go-around. As such, he called on both parties in Congress, the current administration and relevant agencies to work together to help get a team in order, quickly.

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