The White House has decided to weaken some of its restrictions on lobbying that had been aggressively touted by President Obama.
Roll Call reports that
The White House moved Friday evening to loosen lobbying restrictions related to stimulus funds, lifting the ban on federal lobbyists communicating with agency officials on specific projects for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds.
The ban on oral communication now applies only to competitively bid applications on the stimulus package and it applies equally to lobbyists as well as non-lobbyists, according to a White House blog post written by ethics official Norm Eisen.
From the time a competitively bid application is filed until the grant is awarded, the only communication both lobbyists and non-lobbyists can have is through writing. […]
American League of Lobbyists president David Wenhold was happy. “The bottom line is that lobbyists and their clients are allowed back in the conversation,” he said. “At that point and time, hopefully the chilling effect won’t be there anymore.”