Clinton's New Ethic Rules Are Tough, but Cover Few

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT-ELECT Clinton was scheduled to unveil ethics rules yesterday for political appointees in his administration. The rules have been widely touted as the toughest ever imposed. There's just one hitch: They will apply to only a few hundred of the approximately 3,000 officials Mr. Clinton will appoint.

According to anonymous Clinton aides, the new rules will forbid top officials from lobbying their agencies for five years after leaving office and will permanently bar them from lobbying United States officials for foreign governments. Current law bans any former government employee from lobbying his former agency for one year. Top officials also are banned from lobbying Cabinet secretaries and undersecretaries or lobbying on behalf of foreign nations for one year.

The new rules will apply to Cabinet secretaries but not to most lower-ranking officials. Attorney general: only women need apply

Clinton's search for an attorney general may be virtually unprecedented. While such factors as race and gender have played an important part in selecting top appointees in the past - for example, Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas - Clinton may be the first president to decide beforehand that only a woman may fill a high-ranking post. That appears to be the case, at least, with the attorney general selection process.

Top Clinton aides leaked to National Public Radio and the New York Times the news that, because feminist groups had demanded that a woman occupy at least one of the top four Cabinet positions (State, Defense, Treasury, Justice), they were considering the following women for attorney general: Judge Patricia Wald of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; Judge Amalya Kearse of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan; Judge Judith Kaye of the New York Court of Appeals; and Brooksley Born, a partner in the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter.

It would be interesting to find out what Vernon Jordan, who is Clinton's transition director, really thinks of the selection process. …