Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obama's Pentagon No. 2 Pick Lobbyist Cash Ties Run Deep

Last week I reported here that on January 8, President-elect Barack Obama appointed William J. Lynn III, senior vice president of government operations at Raytheon Co., to become the No. 2 official at the Defense Department.

The 55 year old Lynn is a former Pentagon comptroller and Senate staffer. He was a registered lobbyist for Raytheon from 2003 through June 2008, according to the Obama transition team.

I reported at the time that as a lobbyist Lynn worked on Pentagon budget matters including contracting policy, the military's use of space, missile defense, munitions and artillery, sensors and radars and advanced technology programs. Raytheon is one of the military's top contractors, doing $18.3 billion in U.S. government business in 2007.

Under an executive order signed January 21, lobbyists must wait two years before accepting positions at federal agencies they have lobbied. The order also bans federal employees from accepting gifts and appointees from accepting jobs from lobbyists, and it requires greater transparency of government documents.

Writing at The Politico today, Kenneth P. Vogel notes that Lynn is in line for a payout of as much as $1.25 million in the coming weeks for his work as a lobbyist for Raytheon.

Lynn’s financial disclosure statement, filed two weeks ago with the Office of Government Ethics, also reveals that his financial connections to the company are deeper than previously known.
Lynn reported earning $369,615 from Raytheon last year as a senior vice president, He also reported 6,000 shares of restricted company stock worth between $500,000 and $1 million that will vest in February – at a time when he would be on the Pentagon payroll.

Plus, the statement shows that Lynn’s 2008 cash bonus of as much as $250,000 - “pursuant to previously established bonus target formula” – is payable in March.

Additionally, the statement, which pegs most assets only in ranges not precise values, shows Lynn owns "unvested restricted stock" in the company worth between $250,000 and $500,000.

Also, much of Lynn’s retirement is tied up with Raytheon, from a 401k plan worth more than $50,000 to a defined benefit plan that will begin paying him $4,320 a month in 2019.

Lynn has said he will sell his Raytheon stock. Obama also has decided to waive provisions of his new ethics policy specifically for Lynn, including a ban on former lobbyists going to work for agencies they lobbied.

Lynn’s other assets include stock in IBM and Formtek, Inc., a privately held Washington, D.C. software firm, as well as a variety of Goldman Sachs funds.
The Politico
Obama Pick for Pentagon No. 2 Stalls Amid Lobbying Concerns

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