Lynn Confirmed

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed William Lynn to be deputy secretary of defense by a vote of 93 to four. The former top Raytheon lobbyist will replace Gordon England in the Pentagon’s No. 2 post. Lynn’s nomination was somewhat contentious due to the Obama Administration’s new ethics policy that imposes a two-year ban on governmental appointees serving in the same federal agencies that they lobbied as members of the private sector. Obama made an exception for Lynn, to the chagrin of some senior lawmakers. “If he is seriously devoted to serving his country and this President, Mr. Lynn should consider withdrawing his nomination and ask to be reconsidered in two years,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the four dissenting votes said in a Feb. 11 statement. In floor remarks requesting Lynn’s confirmation, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), head of the armed services committee, noted that Lynn “has agreed to divest his financial interest in his former employer within 90 days.” Levin also stated that the steps Lynn has said he will take regarding his former lobbying efforts go “beyond the steps taken by previous nominees to senior positions at the Department of Defense.” (For more, read the Reuters news wire service report and New York Times coverage (requires free registration).)