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Yahoo News: Obama Offers Ethics Reform Plan

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Location: Manchester, NH


Yahoo News: Obama offers ethics reform plan

By HOLLY RAMER

Democrat Barack Obama on Friday vowed to institute ethics reforms if elected president, including tough restrictions on lobbying by former political appointees.

The first-term Illinois senator, who has backed legislation to reduce the influence of big money and special interest in lawmaking, offered several proposals. Most notable would be prohibiting political appointees in his administration from lobbying the executive branch for the remainder of his time in office.

Those who join an Obama administration would not be able to work on regulations or contracts directly related to their former employers for two years.

"When I am president, I will make it absolutely clear that working in an Obama administration is not about serving your former employer, your future employer or your bank account — it's about serving your country, and that's what comes first," he said in a speech at New Hampshire Community Technical College in Manchester, N.H.

Under the current administration, Washington lobbyists have turned government "into a game only they can afford to play," Obama said. "A game played on a field that's no longer level, but rigged to always favor their own narrow agendas."

"In our democracy, the price of access and influence should be nothing more than your voice and your vote," he said.

Obama's plan also calls for ending the abuse of no-bid contracts, restoring objectivity to the executive branch and increasing public access to information. He acknowledged that such promises are common but argued that he has the experience and will to follow through.

In the Senate, Obama has supported legislation that would impose additional restrictions on lawmakers becoming lobbyists and establishes new disclosure rules for lobbyists.

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has opened an investigation into whether presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's staff illegally stopped a car driven by a reporter and ran a check on the license plate against a database.

The investigation was opened Thursday, the same day a group of conservative activists with a connection to rival Sen. John McCain complained about the incident.

One of ConserveNH's founder, Patrick Hynes, works for McCain's political action committee, Straight Talk America.

McCain's New Hampshire spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker denied any connection between the campaign and the letter.

Jane Young, chief of the criminal justice bureau at the Attorney General's Office, said the incident is being investigated.

"We are officially looking into the matter," Young said.

Romney's campaign has denied that aides pulled over New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who was trailing the former Massachusetts governor's caravan in New Hampshire, ran a check on his license plates and told him to leave.

Romney's campaign said the group became lost on back roads after a May 29 stop at a bakery in Dover. A construction detour confused them, the cars stopped, and the staffer walked back to chat with the unknown car.

Leibovich said in an interview, "I was instructed to veer off, which to me is the same as telling someone to leave ... I obviously cannot speak to whether they ran my license plate or not. I can only speak to what the person told me he was doing."


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