The leading candidate to head the Justice Department office that oversees legal policy and judicial nominations recently has been a lobbyist for several business clients, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and would require a waiver from the Obama administration's recently imposed ethics rules.
FOR THE RECORD: A Justice Department official is quoted in this article as saying Mark Gitenstein would recuse himself from issues that could pose a conflict due to his former lobbying. The official said Thursday that such recusals would make a blanket waiver of the Obama ethics rules unnecessary. But legal experts and officials from the reform organization Public Citizen said Gitenstein's lobbying on legal issues was so broad that it would make such recusals impossible. "It would violate both the letter and the spirit of Obama's ethics policy to put Gitenstein in a position where he can substantially influence, and possibly even direct, the Justice Department's policies on the very issues he recently lobbied on," said a report on Gitenstein released this week by Public Citizen.