Noam Scheiber highlights the ties between the Obama administration and the consulting industry in Washington:
[T]he highest-profile White House grads don’t so much join consulting firms these days; they found them. A boldfaced Obama name can rake in upward of $25,000 per month from a client just by dialing into a conference call and drafting a memo from time to time. Four clients means more than a million dollars a year with virtually no overhead. “You can run a business like that on an iPad and a cell phone,” says the former administration official. The godfather of this approach is ex-Clinton strategist Doug Sosnik, famous for conducting his business meetings in jeans from coffee shops and hotel lobbies. David Plouffe and Stephanie Cutter have both adopted the Sosnik model.
He describes the effort required to manage the move from the nominally anti-lobbying administration to the private sector:
[M]any aides look longingly at the handful of industries where you can make a small fortune while still passing as virtuous—a kind of holy grail of post-Obama buckraking. Near the top of the list are the tech-consulting firms, like Blue State Digital, that help clients master social media, wage online marketing campaigns, and generally leverage Big Data. “They all say, ‘I was the real guy’ ” behind Obama’s new media operation, says a former administration official.