WASHINGTON -- Joining the list of former Obama officials trying their hand in the political consulting world, two of the president’s former top advisers are launching their own communications firm.
Robert Gibbs, the president’s former press secretary, and Ben LaBolt, the press secretary for President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, announced Tuesday they are founding the The Incite Agency in Washington. They will be joined by another Obama campaign aide, Adam Fetcher, who will serve as managing director.
The firm will be part of the existing Democratic consulting shop, New Partners Consulting, the firm's statement said. But Gibbs and LaBolt, two familiar faces to political news junkies, will work directly with their own clients, assisting them with “crisis communications and social and digital engagement," among other things.
A number of former Obama aides have made the exodus from the White House or the campaign into the consulting world. And while the Washington Post deemed cashing in “a longtime Washington practice," the paper noted that the arrangement raises eyebrows. The aides inevitably end up working for groups with financial or legislative interests before the executive branch, raising the specter of a skewed legislative playing field.
Once it becomes clearer who will hire The Incite Agency, those eyebrows may be raised again.
That said, there are some restrictions on influence-peddling that Gibbs and LaBolt can do. Under the Obama administration, former aides are prohibited from directly lobbying the government for two years after they leave the government.
LaBolt, meanwhile, told The Huffington Post The Incite Agency will not register to lobby at all. The partners plan to work with non-profit groups, corporations and, what LaBolt called political “causes.”