Techdirt had reported May 1 that recusal obligations last only 1 year, citing a letter from Lee Lofthus, an assistant attorney general and DOJ's designated ethics official. Lofthus' letter, in turn, cites 5 CFR § 2635.502 -- which pre-dates the Obama Administration.
But Lofthus' letter did not discuss the Obama Administration's own ethics policy, which was promulgated by executive order on January 21, 2009. That executive order (which Techdirt did not mention) provides that all appointees must undertake the following pledge upon entering government service:
I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts.(my emphasis). And Main Justice followed up to confirm that the recusal period for DOJ appointees is indeed 2 years:
Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller told Main Justice that the Loftus letter was boilerplate language that hadn’t been updated for the new policy. Miller assured us that the White House ethics policy supercedes traditional ethics guidelines in place at agencies. In short: The two-year ban applies to [associate attorney general Tom] Perrelli and other former intellectual property lawyers who recently joined the Obama DOJ, Miller said.
Miller also said Perrelli had not requested any exemptions from the ban.
It's worth repeating that it is extremely common for DOJ appointees to have previously represented clients from a variety of industries, and there is absolutely no evidence that Perrelli or other Obama DOJ appointees who previously represented record labels and the RIAA are doing anything other than following the relevant ethics rules to the letter.