Telecom lobbyist's alleged Obama advisor role criticized

Telecom industry lobbyist James Halpert reportedly is advising President-elect Barack Obama on issues related to intellectual property and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Halpert worked on behalf of the Internet Commerce Coalition, which included major telcos AT&T and Verizon Communications. If Halpert is advising Obama (Halpert has not been officially named as an advisor), it would violate Obama's stated ethics policy regarding lobbyists, which prohibits transition team members from working in areas in which they have served as lobbyists within the last year.

An Obama spokeswoman says in a story at GovernmentExecutive.com: "Everything we're doing is consistent with the principles that President-elect Obama laid out during the campaign. We are operating under the farthest-reaching ethics policy in history."

The allegation about Halpert also comes at a time when the growing consensus is that the telecom industry will face a tougher regulatory environment with Obama in the White House.

For more:
- GovernmentExecutive.com reports

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