Influence peddling and lobbyists in Washington

Amidst all the stories that are too similar to be noteworthy, this remarkable documentary “Obama’s Deal” from PBS’ Frontline stands out for the scope of the awfulness of virtually all who were involved in the multiple scuttling of the Obama legislation
“On March 23, 2010, after a bruising year of debate, negotiation and backlash, President Barack Obama finally signed the health reform bill that he had promised more than a year before. But at what cost to his popularity and to the ideals of bipartisanship and open government that he’d campaigned on?
In Obama’s Deal, veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk (Bush’s War, Dreams of Obama) takes viewers behind the headlines to reveal the political maneuvering behind Barack Obama’s effort to remake the American health system and transform the way Washington works. Through interviews with administration officials, senators and Washington lobbyists, Obama’s Deal reveals the dramatic details of how an idealistic president pursued the health care fight — despite the warnings of many of his closest advisers — and how he ended up making deals with many of the powerful special interests he had campaigned against.”
7 December 2009
Economic Collapse: U.S. Economy Broken by a Corrupt Political System
(Economy Watch) The economic collapse of the United States has its roots in a political failure in which politicians serve the interests of their sponsors on K Street and Wall Street, rather than the American people. This process was started by Reagan/ism, pushed to new heights by Bush and Cheney, and obediently continued by Obama, the supposed candidate of ‘change’ who has delivered anything but. Unless real change is enacted, the US is rushing headlong into an economic and political Nietzschean abyss.
13 October
MoveOn Whacks Finance Bill Hours Before Committee Vote
Just hours before the Senate Finance Committee is set to vote (and likely pass) its version of health care reform legislation, the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org has announced a new television advertisement slamming the final product. Narrated by former health insurance executive Wendell Potter, the spot accuses private insurance of trying to “kill health reform” and whacks the committee for not including a public option to keep the industry honest. A spokesman for MoveOn said the spot was spurred by a report released yesterday from the insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), which also slammed the finance committee bill — for having an insufficient individual mandate.
10 October
Lobbyists Fight Last Big Plans to Cut Health Care Costs
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Most of the serious proposals to fulfill President Obama’s vow to curb health care costs have fallen victim to organized interests and parochial politics.
4 October
Frank Rich: The Rabbit Ragu Democrats
Barack Obama promised a change from this revolving-door, behind-closed-doors collaboration between special interests and government. He vowed to “do our business in the light of day” — with health care negotiations broadcast on C-Span — and to “restore the vital trust between people and their government.” He said, “I intend to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over.” That those lobbyists would so extravagantly flaunt their undiminished role shows just how little they believe that a new sheriff has arrived in Dodge.
30 September
Thomas Frank: Obama and the K Street Set – Whatever happened to ‘change’?
(WSJ) These are uncomfortable times in Washington. The laissez-faire shibboleths of the last 30 years are in pieces on the ground; the Republican Party is a shadow of its former self; and energy, finance, and health care are all targeted for reform by a president elected last fall with a powerful mandate. And so it falls to our lobbyists to keep reality at bay—to step forward in this awful moment, when history itself is daily giving us such stark lessons, and make sure we do nothing to upset the order that keeps them so well fed.
28 September
How Washington lobbyists peddle power
(CSM) The equivalent of six health-care lobbyists for every member of Congress are registered for this year’s biggest political battle.
Lobbyists and their efforts to shape policy are back in the spotlight this year, as Congress works a legislative agenda of historic size and scope. The battle over reform of the nation’s healthcare system is the biggest effort to influence national policy in nearly a quarter century.
Some 3,300 lobbyists have registered on the healthcare issue alone, all striving to shape the outcome in their clients’ interest. With the equivalent of six healthcare lobbyists for each member of Congress, experts say the battle today is larger than that over President Clinton’s 1993 healthcare reform push. The fight over healthcare is “the largest lobbying effort” since the 1986 battle royal over tax reform during the Reagan administration.
16 August
Oil Group’s ‘Citizen’ Rally Memo Stirs Debate – Firms Asked to Recruit Employees, Retirees
(Washington Post) A petroleum industry trade group is asking oil companies to recruit employees and retirees to attend rallies attacking climate-change legislation, an approach to grass-roots politics that resembles strategies used recently by some opponents of health-care reform. In a memo this month, American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard detailed plans for “Energy Citizen” rallies to be held in 20 states during the final two weeks of Congress’s August recess. Gerard wrote that the intent was to put a “human face on the impacts of unsound energy policy,” including a climate-change bill passed by the House in June.
“Please indicate to your company leadership your strong support for employee participation in the rallies,” Gerard wrote in the memo, saying that contractors and suppliers should also be recruited.
Environmental groups on Saturday criticized the rallies, which they described as manufactured events intended to pass as organic assemblies of concerned citizens. Greenpeace activists said they saw parallels to the health-care debate, where opponents of reform — including some organizations that receive heavy funding from industry groups and individuals — have organized efforts to shout down lawmakers at “town hall” meetings.
10 August
Frank Rich: Is Obama Punking Us?
What the Great Recession has crystallized is a larger syndrome that Obama tapped into during the campaign. It’s the sinking sensation that the American game is rigged — that, as the president typically put it a month after his inauguration, the system is in hock to “the interests of powerful lobbyists or the wealthiest few” who have “run Washington far too long.” He promised to smite them.
No president can do that alone, let alone in six months. To make Obama’s goal more quixotic, the ailment that he diagnosed is far bigger than Washington and often beyond politics’ domain. What disturbs Americans of all ideological persuasions is the fear that almost everything, not just government, is fixed or manipulated by some powerful hidden hand, from commercial transactions as trivial as the sales of prime concert tickets to cultural forces as pervasive as the news media.
5 August 2009
Coal Group Reveals 6 More Forged Lobbying Letters
(WaPost) A total of 12 forged letters — all appearing to come from local groups unhappy with a climate-change bill — were sent to three congressional offices this summer by a Washington lobbying firm, according to the pro-coal group for which the firm was working. That is six more fraudulent letters than were previously known to have been sent by the firm, Bonner and Associates. The newly revealed letters were sent to Reps. Chris Carney (D-Pa.) and Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.), according to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the trade group that hired Bonner and Associates [which] bills itself as one of Washington’s premier firms for grass-roots lobbying [that] often involves eliciting phone calls, letters or e-mails from constituents or groups in a particular congressional district.
28 September 2008
What we were learning — through The New York Times, Newsweek and Roll Call — was ugly. Davis Manafort, the lobbying firm owned by McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, had received $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac from late 2005 until last month. This was in addition to the $30,000 a month that Davis was paid from 2000 to 2005 by the so-called Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy organization that he headed and that was financed by Freddie and Fannie to fight regulation.
The McCain campaign tried to pre-emptively deflect such revelations by reviving the old Rove trick of accusing your opponent of your own biggest failings. It ran attack ads about Obama’s own links to the mortgage giants. But neither of the former Freddie-Fannie executives vilified in those ads, Franklin Raines and James Johnson, had worked at those companies lately or are currently associated with the Obama campaign. (Raines never worked for the campaign at all.) By contrast, Davis is the tip of the Freddie-Fannie-McCain iceberg. McCain’s senior adviser, his campaign’s vice chairman, his Congressional liaison and the reported head of his White House transition team all either made fortunes from recent Freddie-Fannie lobbying or were players in firms that did.
19 September
We are beholden to one of our many anonymous sources for this excellent round-up on the murky side of decision making in Washington
Industry Lobbyists Go After Candidates

By ELIZABETH WILLIAMSON
(Wall Street Journal) WASHINGTON — Top lobbyists for the financial-services industry are feverishly working connections inside both presidential campaigns, hoping to influence a torrent of regulation certain in the aftermath of the market crisis.
As the financial-market crisis has deepened, economic advisers from both campaigns have reached out to the big industry lobbying groups, vetting ideas on what they should do.

[Working It]

It is the “dirty little secret in town,” said one financial-services lobbyist — that after lambasting lobbyists on the stump, the candidates need their counsel on how to respond to a crisis with origins too complicated for most industry outsiders to understand.
“It’s a dialogue…that’s taken on a greater urgency in the last couple of weeks,” said Steve O’Connor, senior vice president for government affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association. The group is urging caution on regulatory proposals, he said, telling both camps, “You want to get it right.”
The financial industry has invested heavily in that dialogue, giving $22.5 million in the current election cycle to Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, and $19.6 million to Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
This week, two of the biggest financial groups in Washington, the Financial Services Roundtable and the Mortgage Bankers Association, have drawn in members from across the country to grill economic advisers from both campaigns, develop policy positions and urge prudence as both parties struggle to craft a regulatory stance on the deepening crisis.
The Financial Services Roundtable has developed draft legislation that calls for the Federal Reserve to regulate brokerages and dealers that seek access to its discount window; a new federal insurance regulator within Treasury; and a mechanism for federal agencies to coordinate regulation among themselves.
The group will fine-tune that proposal at a meeting this week with the chief executives from more than 50 banks, brokerages and insurers, a three-day confab that Thursday included a private session with Obama economic adviser Ian Solomon and McCain adviser Ike Brannon.
The intensifying activity reflects industry concern that the candidates — under the gun to say what they would do to solve the crisis — will push solutions the industry can’t live with.
Thursday, Sen. McCain said Wall Street had become a “casino” and said he would fire the current head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Christopher Cox. Sen. McCain called for a new government entity that would buy the assets of troubled companies, then sell them off in better times.
While campaigning Thursday, Sen. Obama said that the Fed’s effort to pump billions of dollars into global financial markets to ease liquidity problems was important to “maintain the functioning of our financial system and the flow of credit to American households and businesses.”
Sen. Obama said he planned to meet Friday with his top economic advisers to craft a “Homeowner and Financial Support Act” that would provide capital to the financial system, liquidity to the markets and help for families who need to restructure mortgages they can’t afford.
At the Financial Services Roundtable gathering, attendees heard Wednesday from House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D., N.Y.) and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
Thursday, the group’s CEOs agreed to advocate for a change in accounting rules. The proposal would require financial-services firms to state their assets’ value on balance sheets based on the assets’ purchase price rather than market value, an approach that in the current climate has weakened companies’ balance sheets.
American Bankers Association President and CEO Ed Yingling said the group is watching to see how regulation of securities houses affects its members. The group will appeal to the campaigns for prudence, should the Fed take a broader regulatory role.
The Mortgage Bankers Association has been in formal and informal contact with both campaigns. Next month, it will host Mr. Solomon for a discussion of economic policy and regulation.
—Louise Radnofsky and Nick Timiraos contributed to this article. 
21 June 2005
The Road to Riches Is Called K Street
To the great growth industries of America such as health care and home building add one more: influence peddling.
The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750 while the amount that lobbyists charge their new clients has increased by as much as 100 percent. Only a few other businesses have enjoyed greater prosperity in an otherwise fitful economy.
The lobbying boom has been caused by three factors, experts say: rapid growth in government, Republican control of both the White House and Congress, and wide acceptance among corporations that they need to hire professional lobbyists to secure their share of federal benefits.
…Lobbying firms can’t hire people fast enough. Starting salaries have risen to about $300,000 a year for the best-connected aides eager to “move downtown” from Capitol Hill or the Bush administration. Once considered a distasteful post-government vocation, big-bucks lobbying is luring nearly half of all lawmakers who return to the private sector when they leave Congress, according to a forthcoming study by Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. Political historians don’t see these as positive developments for democracy.
Graphic from another WSJ story:
Nearly three years ago, Gregg Hartley left his job as a top aide to Republican Rep. Roy Blunt of [Graphic]Missouri to become a lobbyist. Mr. Hartley began helping companies like BellSouth Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Viacom Inc. get audiences with Mr. Blunt and other top House Republicans and win some important legislative battles. At the same time, Mr. Hartley was helping his old Capitol Hill boss raise campaign money and offering him political advice. Mr. Hartley is now assisting Mr. Blunt in his bid to succeed Rep. Tom DeLay as House majority leader. For the last three weeks, the lobbyist has offered strategic advice during regular visits to Mr. Blunt’s office in the U.S. Capitol, according to people familiar with the meetings.
Mr. Hartley’s dual roles highlight a practice that is becoming more common in Washington: Lobbyists are serving as principal fund-raisers for lawmakers they’re trying to sway.
Growing Role for Lobbyists: Raising Funds for Lawmakers, by Brody Mullins, WSJ, January 27, 2006

Papers Detail Industry’s Role in Cheney’s Energy Report
(WP A1) A confidential list prepared by the Bush administration shows that Cheney and his aides had already held at least 40 meetings with interest groups, most of them from energy-producing industries. By the time of the meeting with environmental groups, according to a former White House official who provided the list to The Washington Post, the initial draft of the task force was substantially complete and President Bush had been briefed on its progress.
In all, about 300 groups and individuals met with staff members of the energy task force, including a handful who saw Cheney himself, according to the list, which was compiled in the summer of 2001. For six years, those names have been a closely guarded secret, thanks to a fierce legal battle waged by the White House. Some names have leaked out over the years, but most have remained hidden because of a 2004 Supreme Court ruling that agreed that the administration’s internal deliberations ought to be shielded from outside scrutiny.
One of the first visitors, on Feb. 14, was James J. Rouse, then vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration; a week later, longtime Bush supporter Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp., came by for the first of two meetings. On March 5, some of the country’s biggest electric utilities, including Duke Energy and Constellation Energy Group, had an audience with the task force staff.
British Petroleum
representatives dropped by on March 22, one of about 20 oil and drilling companies to get meetings. The National Mining Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and the American Petroleum Institute were among three dozen trade associations that met with Cheney’s staff, the document shows.
The list of participants’ names and when they met with administration officials provides a clearer picture of the task force’s priorities and bolsters previous reports that the review leaned heavily on oil and gas companies and on trade groups — many of them big contributors to the Bush campaign and the Republican Party.
2 June 2007
(WSJ) Global Debate Is Just Heating Up, by Jeffrey Ball
Suddenly, it seems, everyone is talking about global warming. A big worry for diplomats gathering to discuss the issue this coming week at a meeting in Germany of the Group of Eight leading nations is that their countries may actually have to do something about it.
Deciding how to curb the fossil-fuel emissions contributing to global warming is, fundamentally, about deciding who foots the bill. As public pressure to tackle the problem intensifies, so does the jostling among big emitters to push the cost onto someone else.
That’s why in Washington, in the months since Democrats took over Congress and pledged to force a cut in U.S. emissions, corporate lobbyists have begun debating details of how an emissions constraint should be structured. The auto industry is sparring with the utility industry over whether the regulatory hammer should fall on tailpipes or smokestacks. The lobbyists tout principles like economic efficiency and economywide fairness. But what they really want is to ensure that no one player — and above all, not their client — has to cut its emissions too much.
23 December 2005
(NYT op-ed) On Opinion Page, a Lobby’s Hand Is Often Unseen
Susan Finston of the Institute for Policy Innovation, a conservative research group based in Texas, is just the sort of opinion maker coveted by the drug industry.
In an opinion article in The Financial Times on Oct. 25, she called for patent protection in poor countries for drugs and biotechnology products. In an article last month in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal, she called for efforts to block developing nations from violating patents on AIDS medicines and other drugs.
Both articles identified her as a “research associate” at the institute. Neither mentioned that, as recently as August, Ms. Finston was registered as a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry’s trade group. Nor was there mention of her work this fall in creating the American Bioindustry Alliance, a group underwritten largely by drug companies.
The institute says Ms. Finston’s ties to industry should not have prevented her from writing about those issues. Nor is there a conflict, it says, in the work of Merrill Matthews Jr., who writes for major newspapers advocating policies promoted by the insurance industry even though he is a registered lobbyist for a separate group backed by it. “Lobbying is not a four-letter word,” said the institute’s president, Tom Giovanetti.
But organizations like the institute, which bills itself as an independent, nonprofit research group committed to a “smaller, less intrusive government,” are facing new and uncomfortable scrutiny over their links to special interest groups after the disclosure this week that the Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff had paid at least two outside writers for opinion articles promoting the work of his clients.
One writer, Peter Ferrara, an advocate of privatizing Social Security who is often quoted by news organizations, including The New York Times, works for the institute as a senior policy adviser.
The other, Doug Bandow, a scholar for the libertarian Cato Institute and a columnist for the Copley News Service, resigned from both after acknowledging that he had received as much as $2,000 an article from Mr. Abramoff for writing in support of his lobbying clients, including Indian tribe casinos.
8 June 2005
Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming

(NYT) A White House official who once led the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.
In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.
The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase “significant and fundamental” before the word “uncertainties,” tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.
...Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.
Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the “climate team leader” and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he has no scientific training.

After the publication of the above story, Cooney was forced to resign. He wasn’t unemployed for very long:

Philip A. Cooney, the former White House staff member who repeatedly revised government scientific reports on global warming, will go to work for Exxon Mobil this fall, the oil company said yesterday.
Mr. Cooney resigned as chief of staff for President Bush’s environmental policy council on Friday, two days after documents obtained by The New York Times revealed that he had edited the reports in ways that cast doubt on the link between the emission of greenhouse gases and rising temperatures.
A former lawyer and lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute, the main lobbying group for the oil industry, Mr. Cooney has no scientific training. The White House, which said on Friday that there was no connection between last week’s disclosure and Mr. Cooney’s resignation, repeated yesterday that his actions were part of the normal review process for documents on environmental issues involving many government agencies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/15/politics/15climate.html?ei=5090&en=67f33de630a5e39a&ex=1276488000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

Foreign Lobbies Took the Guise Of Nonprofits
Early last year, two little-known nonprofit groups paid for Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) and his 12-year-old daughter to travel to South Korea and Malaysia. Their last stop was the Berjaya Beach & Spa Resort on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, where they bunked at an oceanfront chalet staffed with a personal butler, got massages and rode water scooters on Burau Bay.
Doolittle’s junket, which cost $29,400, was among the most expensive privately sponsored trips by members of Congress in recent years. The two groups that split the bills were not ordinary nonprofits. They were fronts for vigorous lobbying campaigns bankrolled by foreign entities and were operated by a Washington lobbying firm, Alexander Strategy Group, according to public records and people who worked with the firm.
For five years beginning in 2001, the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council and the U.S.-Malaysia Exchange Association treated 12 members of Congress and 31 Capitol Hill staffers and their relatives to nearly $500,000 in trips that included stops at U.S. and overseas resorts, records show.
15 April 2005
More Lawmakers Take Trips Funded By Corporations
(WSJ) WASHINGTON — As winter storms battered the country this January, Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas and his wife, Christine, flew to Hawaii. They stayed at the Big Island’s Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel with views of what Condé Nast Traveler calls America’s No. 1 beach. Mr. DeLay also played on an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course that climbs from the shoreline to a 700-foot-high bluff overlooking the ocean.
The DeLays’ five-day trip cost $10,000, according to congressional travel records, but they didn’t pay for it.
Instead, the tab was picked up by corporations and trade organizations that represent U.S. airports and airlines. The Republican leader’s sole obligation was to participate in a panel discussion on the first morning of the annual aviation conference of the American Association of Airport Executives. More than 40 lawmakers and staffers from both parties also attended the conference.

(“More Lawmakers Take Trips Funded By Corporations,” by Brody Mullins, WSJ, April 15, 2005 – behind a pay wall)

Another WP A1 story by the indefatigable Jeff Birnbaum titled “Privately Funded Trips Add Up on Capitol Hill”:

Over 5 1/2 years, Republican and Democratic lawmakers accepted nearly $50 million in trips, often to resorts and exclusive locales, from corporations and groups seeking legislative favors, according to the most comprehensive study to date on the subject of congressional travel.
… Lawmakers and their staffers were treated to $25,000 corporate-jet rides and $500-a-night hotel rooms, the study showed. Lawmakers accepted thousands of costly jaunts — one worth more than $30,000 — to some of the world’s choicest destinations: at least 200 trips to Paris, 150 to Hawaii and 140 to Italy. “Congressional travelers gave speeches in Scotland, attended meetings in Australia and toured nuclear facilities in Spain,” the study reported. “They pondered welfare reform in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the future of Social Security at a Colorado ski resort.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/05/AR2006060501496.html

WP op-ed by recently retired US Senator Fritz Hollings titled “Stop the Money Chase”:
The K Street lobbyists have become a cottage industry. A legislator who seeks money will do well to take onto his or her staff someone a lobbyist recommends. The staffer then arranges the industry fundraisers. And K Street tells you outright that if you don’t have a Republican lobbyist, your legislation is not going anywhere.
The lobbyists don’t bother with the senator; they take the staff to lunch. Legislation is not drafted in the Senate but in the law offices. Staffs are queried to make sure the senator is favorably disposed and once there are enough senators so inclined, the measure moves to the party leadership’s staff. The next thing you know, the measure is a party position and becomes “must” legislation. Sometimes a senator is on the way to the floor to vote on it, asking his staff, “What’s this all about?” and the staff replies, “You’re for this, vote ‘aye,’ or you’re against this, vote ‘nay.’ ”
The money crowd has the money, and representatives and senators need the money. But no one wants to touch the reason for the ethical misconduct. Excise the cancer of money, and most of the misconduct will disappear.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/17/AR2006021701847.html

WP story titled “Corruption Watchdog Downgrades U.S.”:

Congressional scandals have damaged America’s standing on a global list that ranks freedom from corruption. The United States ranked 20th least corrupt among 163 countries, down from 17th last year, and scored 7.3 out of 10, a drop of 0.3 compared with 2005, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2006.
Finland, Iceland and New Zealand tied for least corrupt, each with an almost-perfect 9.6 ranking. In more bad news for the United States, Iraq was next-to-last on the list.
…The report cites among U.S. examples the case of former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who is under indictment in a Texas case stemming from a campaign finance investigation and who has a former aide who pleaded guilty in the corruption probe of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Much campaign money has been diverted to ostensibly non-party groups, known as “527s,” that are underregulated, according to Transparency. As in 2005, the group called into question the U.S. bidding system for public contracts in Iraq.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/07/AR2006110701253_pf.html
It’s the financial industry lobbyists who are ”grill(ing)” the politicians, and not the other way around. Second, the industry lobbyists are the ones drafting the legislation that might be adopted by the politicians as a way of responding to the crisis and better regulating industry.
December 2003
How James Glassman reinvented journalism–as lobbying.
James Glassman and TCS [Tech Central Station] have given birth to something quite new in Washington: journo-lobbying. It’s an innovation driven primarily by the influence industry. Lobbying firms that once specialized in gaining person-to-person access to key decision-makers have branched out. The new game is to dominate the entire intellectual environment in which officials make policy decisions, which means funding everything from think tanks to issue ads to phony grassroots pressure groups. But the institution that most affects the intellectual atmosphere in Washington, the media, has also proven the hardest for K Street to influence–until now.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0312.confessore.html

One Comment on "Influence peddling and lobbyists in Washington"

  1. Gunther M November 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm · Reply

    i managed to find a series of videos starring gary chafetz. these youtube videos explain all about the disturbing connections between the imprisonment of abramoff and senator john mccain.

    the info contained in these videos should be known by everyone before any votes are cast

    the vids can be found by searching youtube for ‘gary chafetz’

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