Obama Campaign Hires Keystone XL Pipeline Lobbyist

Politico reported this morning that Obama's re-election campaign had just hired Broderick Johnson as a senior advisor. Mike Allen writes

Broderick Johnson, a Washington lawyer and the husband of NPR's Michele Norris, is joining President Barack Obama's reelection campaign as a senior adviser and member of the senior staff to help provide "an ear to the ground," Obama for America officials said Monday.

Johnson, a partner at Bryan Cave, the St. Louis-based law firm, worked on the Clinton White House's legislative affairs team and then went to K Street as a lobbyist for AT&T and BellSouth and most recently served as chairman of Bryan Cave's lobbying arm, Bryan Cave Strategies. He has been a registered lobbyist for clients such as Anheuser Busch Companies, Comcast Corp., FedEx Corp., and Microsoft as recently as 2010. At the beginning of this year, Bryan Cave terminated all of his involvement with lobbying clients.

And, according to Brendan DeMelle at DeSmog Blog, Johnson's work at Bryan Cave was on the Keystone XL pipeline:

Broderick Johnson, a former Bryan Cave LLP lobbyist registered on the Keystone XL account, reported lobbying President Obama's legislative affairs staff in 2010, a post he's familiar with, having served in the Clinton administration in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs from 1998-2000. He was named deputy assistant to the president and House liaison, acting as the Clinton administration's primary advocate before the U.S. House of Representatives in 1999 and 2000.

Obama and Secretary Clinton are currently mulling the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will transport some of the world's dirtiest fossil fuels from Canada, through the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico. The process of the pipeline's road to approval has become something of a sham, with numerous lobbyists for the pipeline with ties to Obama and/or Clinton. And there's also the issue of the public hearings on the pipeline being run by a pipeline contractor.

"President Obama ran for office in 2008 promising that the days of lobbyists setting the agenda in Washington were over, yet now he's hired a top oil pipeline lobbyist into his campaign," said Kim Huynh, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth. "This is a deeply troubling development. A lobbyist who has taken corporate cash to shill for this dirty and dangerous pipeline now has even more opportunity to whisper into the president's ear."

And as Bill McKibben said, "Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama himself still hasn't made up his mind about the pipeline. That's why we're going to surround the White House on November 6, carrying signs and banners with words from his 2008 campaign about the need to end 'the tyranny of oil'. We want to see if we can somehow jog his memory."

AlterNet / By Tara Lohan

Posted at October 24, 2011, 9:44am

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