Obama Picks Team for Economic Summit; Albright, Leach to Be Available on the Sidelines in Washington

Article excerpt

Byline: Jon Ward, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President-elect Barack Obama, continuing to draw from the large pool of former Clinton administration officials to staff his transition into office, announced Wednesday his delegates to a global economic summit this weekend and the leaders of a comprehensive review of the Bush administration.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former Republican Rep. Jim Leach, of Iowa, will represent Mr. Obama during the summit in Washington. They will be available for meetings with heads of state or their representatives on the sidelines of the economic summit Saturday.

Neither Obama representative will attend the summit, and their meetings will take place off-site, an Obama official said.

The Obama transition office also announced the leaders of its agency review team, which will examine the inner workings of more than 100 government offices and advise Mr. Obama on what he should change or continue.

Though the agency review team did not include current lobbyists, adhering to Mr. Obama's promise to keep monied influence out of his administration, a handful of persons named to the task force have lobbied in the past, according to a U.S. Senate database.

Melody Barnes, one of three agency review leaders, lobbied in 2003 for the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, in 2004 for the American Constitution Society, and in 1995 for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Thomas Donilon, who will help oversee the transition at the State Department, represented mortgage giant Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2005.

David J. Hayes, a member of the working group, was listed 25 times from 2001 to 2006 as having represented several different companies. Sally Katzen, another working group member, lobbied Congress on Medicare coverage and reimbursement issues in 2007, for Amgen Inc., a biotech firm.

The agency review will be led by Miss Barnes, a senior domestic policy adviser to the Obama campaign who had worked for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat; Lisa Brown, executive director of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and a one-time legal adviser to former Vice President Al Gore; and Don Gips, who worked under Mr. Gore at the White House as his chief domestic policy adviser.

The teams will begin work this week, the Obama transition office said, and will provide the president-elect, vice president-elect and key advisers with information needed to make strategic policy, budgetary and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration. …