President Barack Obama signed two executive orders on his first full day in office, taking first steps toward fulfilling campaign promises to be more transparent and earn back the public’s trust in its public servants.
The first executive order lays out Obama’s ethics rules. Executive branch employees will be prohibited from accepting any gifts from lobbyists. Anyone who works for the administration will not be allowed to lobby the executive branch for as long as Obama is president. It also prohibits lobbyists hired by his administration from dealing with agencies on matters they lobbied about for two years.
The second order revokes a 2001 executive order signed by former President George W. Bush that limited release of former presidents’ records, and replaces it with new language aimed at more transparency. Bush’s order gave former presidents broad authority to claim executive privilege and to designate others, including family members who survive them, to exercise executive privilege on their behalf. Obama’s order revokes the survivor provision and gives ex-presidents less leeway to withhold records.
In remarks prior to the signing, Obama said, “For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city. This administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but with those who seek it to be known.”
At the ceremony, Obama also signed a memorandum freezing pay for all of his staff making more than $100,000.
Both executive orders are posted on the new White House website.
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