Former Obama Aides Take Lucrative Consulting Jobs with Special Interest Groups

Sunday, June 02, 2013
Robert Gibbs, Jim Messina and David Plouffe (AP photo)

President Barack Obama entered the White House promising to hold his administration to a higher standard than his predecessor did, implementing rules like the one prohibiting former aides from directly lobbying the government on behalf of special interests for two years.


But there are still plenty of ways for those who worked for Obama to go out and make considerable money without serving as a lobbyist.


For instance, five former administration officials are now working the Keystone XL oil pipeline issue. Four of them—Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter, Jim Papa and Paul Tewes—serve as consultants for opponents of the project, while ex-White House communications director Anita Dunn is handling communications for the project’s sponsor, TransCanada, as a consultant.


Others who have served Obama are also doing well since leaving the administration.


Former political advisers Robert Gibbs, Jim Messina and David Plouffe received five-figure checks to speak at a forum in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, which is trying to win news friends in Washington.


Messina, who was Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, has started his own consulting firm that will count “Team Obama” as its primary client.


Joining Messina will be Ty Matsdorf, who helped run the liberal American Bridge super PAC during last year’s election, and Tara Corrigan, who worked on both of Obama’s campaigns and in the White House.


Then there’s Gibbs, the former White House press secretary, and David Axelrod, one of Obama’s longest-serving and closest advisers, who have each signed on with MSNBC to be analysts.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

For Obama’s Ex-Aides, It’s Time to Cash in on Experience (by Juliet Eilperin and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post)

Get Rich or Deny Trying: How to Make Millions off Obama (by Noam Scheiber, New Republic)

Obama Aides Cash In (by Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon)

Revolving Door Still Open for Lobbyists (AllGov)  

            Geithner Chooses Wall Street Lobbyist as Top Treasury Aide (AllGov)


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