Update: mHealth lobbyist now HHS chief-of-staff

By: Brian Dolan | Feb 1, 2009        

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Designate health reform czar Former Senate Leader Tom Daschle’s chief-of-staff Mark B. Childress, the second former lobbyist to land at the HHS, announced that he would recuse himself from all decisions related to topics he lobbied on for clients including PanFlu and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. On his second day of office, President Obama issued an executive order that prohibited the hiring of federal employees who had served as lobbyists to federal agencies from working in the federal government on those issues.

Childress was part of a team of lobbyists at Foley Hoag that PanFlu paid $60,000 in 2007 to lobby the House, Senate and the HHS for “education regarding mobile hospital technology,” according to the Senate’s lobbyist records. During the first three quarters of 2008, Childress was part of a team that earned $90,000 from PanFlu to lobby the House, Senate and HHS on the same issue.

Because of the president’s executive order, Childress will need to avoid making decisions that affect his former clients or the broader areas they represented, but an aide to Childress told Politico that the former lobbyist will not require a waiver because he did not personally lobby the HHS department.

“He will fully comply with the ethics pledge, including recusing himself from matters and specific issues he worked on while employed at Foley Hoag,” Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin said in a statement.

Read more about Childress in this article from Politico.

UPDATE: The designate health reform czar and HHS Secretary Tom Daschle removed his name from the running for both posts after his Senate confirmation hearings grilled the former Senate Leader for not paying $146,000 in income taxes on time. Questions linger as to whether the next nominee will serve as the leader on healthcare policy in both the White House and the HHS, which some believe could threaten the president’s previous plans to seriously overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.