Linda Hall Daschle is a registered aviation lobbyist with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz and is the wife of the next secretary of health and human services, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. That said, is this situation in direct conflict with the hard line that Obama has imposed on his transition team against lobbyists?
Obama’s desire to have Tom Daschle on his team suggests that he will take a softer line on lobbying by a spouse. According to Thomas Susman, an expert on ethics rules and himself a lobbyist for the American Bar Association, said “On the one hand you say a spouse shouldn’t be disenfranchised from his or her professional activities because his or her spouse goes into government. But it does seem to me that a spouse ought not be allowed to lobby an agency or on issues under the control of the spouse in government.”
Obama took a hard line on influence-peddling during his campaign and pledged to hold his administration to a higher standard. Transition spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Obama’s team is “writing ethics rules for an Obama administration that will meet every commitment made during the campaign. To prevent conflicts of interest, administration officials will recuse themselves from any issue involving a spouse, and spouses will be banned from lobbying relevant agencies.”
Linda Hall Daschle is considered one of Washington’s top lobbyists, with recent clients that include American Airlines, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. She began that career in 1997 and said in a 2002 interview, “Why should a spouse, just because she is married to a high-profile public official, have to walk away from a career?”
The couple have been married 24 years. He has two daughters and a son from a previous marriage.
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