James M. Cole, whom Obama installed as deputy attorney general through a recess appointment yesterday, is not and has never been a registered lobbyist. He's just a lawyer who works at a lobbying firm which describes his job as “counseling corporations on compliance, securities, regulatory, and criminal law issues, as well as representation of corporations and individuals before grand juries, in congressional hearings, in court proceedings, and before federal agencies.”
Got that? Obama's new appointee is a lawyer at a lobbying firm whose job includes representation of corporations before federal agencies. But he's not a lobbyist.
Cole's clients: AIG, McDonnell Douglass, and according to his webpage, “individuals and companies in the health care field concerning … FDA regulatory issues.” That means probably drugmakers or device makers. Bryan Cave, the lobbying firm where Cole works, represents AstraZeneca and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
Again, Cole's not a registered lobbyist, so naming him doesn't violate Obama's claim to have “excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs,” just as Google's VP for government affairs Andrew McLaughlin (now the No. 2 tech policy guy at the White House) and Wellpoint VP for government affairs Liz Fowler (now implementing ObamaCare at HHS) aren't technically lobbyists.
But the more than 50 registered lobbyists Obama has put in senior policymaking jobs do make Obama's claims false. Cole's recess appointment just highlights how hole-filled Obama's rules and pledges are.