Obama Announces Urban Affairs Team

(AP Photo/Adam Rountree)
President Barack Obama today announced that Adolfo Carrion will become White House Director of Urban Affairs. The president also announced that Derek Douglas will be special assistant to the president for urban affairs.

In his new post, Carrion will oversee the distribution of federal money to metropolitan areas. The money will be targeted to address issues such as unemployment and affordable housing.

Carrion is a force in New York politics, having served two terms as Bronx Borough President. He is also a prominent Hispanic leader, a key voting bloc that helped elect Mr. Obama last November and one that he has courted assiduously since taking office.

As borough president, Mr. Carrion oversaw the construction of 40,000 new units of housing and 50 new schools. He also managed $7 billion in capital and infrastructure expenditures.

Douglas also served as Washington Counsel to New York Governor David A. Paterson and Director of the governor's Washington, D.C. Office.

The Republican National Committee, citing a Politico report, has been emailing reporters today stressing Douglas' history as a lobbyist. Douglas was registered as a federal lobbyist for the Center for American Progress from 2005-2007. (Ben Smith notes that Douglas was a policy lobbyist, not a private sector lobbyist.)

But CAP says Douglas left the think tank on January 19, 2007, CBSNews.com political reporter Brian Montopoli reports. The ethics rules instituted by Mr. Obama ban lobbyists from working for agencies they have lobbied in the past two years; Douglas' lobbying past falls just outside that two-year window.