Tag Archives: lobbying

Suck on this ALEC. Your day is passing.

Sometimes the blinders are lifted. And sometimes people do the right thing. ALEC is bleeding members. Really important members. Take that you damn NRA.

Now maybe a few of our State legislatures might try writing laws themselves again, if they haven’t forgotten how.

Five more companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), the No. 1 computer maker, have left the controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) since the Feb. 26 killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla

ALEC is a Washington, D.C.-based group that lobbies for laws in state legislatures, including the “stand your ground” law. George Zimmerman, 28, who’s been charged with second-degree murder in the case, has cited the law as part of his defense.

The others to resign are CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), private MillerCoors LLC and BestBuy (NYSE: BBY), respective giants in drugstores, tractors, beer and electronics retailing.

Last month, Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), the No. 3 PC maker, quit ALEC after the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and other liberal groups launched anti-ALEC activities. Nearly 30 companies and nonprofits have quit by now.

Everyone in Florida loves guns except the cops

News from Tallahassee this morning – the NRA wants those cops to get out of the way dammit.

The National Rifle Association . . .  is surveying state sheriff candidates on whether they’re willing to take a stand against the very association that will represent them in the Capitol if they win.

Their survey sent to candidates takes aim at the Florida Sheriff’s Association and other law enforcement groups, sheriffs and deputies that have opposed bills the two groups support.

Shit lobbyists say (I know, I’m late to the game)

Lobbyists write legislation, they take your representatives out to lunch (they can pay for it if both diners are standing, not sitting), they throw fundraisers, they abide by absurdly specific rules to avoid appearance of graft and bribery, but nonetheless, Lobbyists influence your government for the benefit of corporate interests.

http://www.unitedrepublic.org

http://www.republicreport.org

http://www.sofapundit.com

“Find on this page” doesn’t bring up ‘historian’. Must be something wrong with my computer.

Following up on the earlier post – when you’re hired as a strategist for a company’s top lobbyist, this is the job description.

Consultant will provide consulting and related services as requested by Freddie Mac’s Director, Public Policy in exchange for which Freddie Mac will pay Consultant $25,000 per each full calendar month during which Consultant provides Services.

Kos had a comment,

. . . there you go. That’s the whole thing. When you cut out the 14 other pages of boilerplate terms and conditions, generic stuff that is copy and pasted into every contract, that’s the actual meat of it. Wow. A whole sentence—I think I even see a comma in there.

Well, that’s okay then

Newt’s 1999 contract with Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist (the $25,000 a month contract) says:

“nothing herein is or shall be construed as an agreement to provide lobbying services of any kind or engage in lobbying activities.”

Crisp and clear, that – and not to be ‘construed’ as other than the absolute utter truth. One does wonder why they felt it necessary to includeg that phrase when contracting with a ‘historian’ or ‘strategist’?

The brief story in my paper this morning did not tell me what the contract does include. I shall go a-googling.

Newt keeps a straight face. Lessons from Mrs. G the Third?

Gingrich’s characterization of his activities at his own lobbying firm is simply breathtaking. The media should be on the floor and laughing out loud at this one.

Just saw this at The Washington Examiner (new conservative paper in DC, headed by Micahel Barone and Byron York). Good for them. They took a look, stepped back and took another look, and then headlined their story:

Newt Gingrich was a lobbyist, plain and simple.

. . . we know he was paid consultant for drug makers. That’s the first criterion for being a drug lobbyist.

Here’s the second criterion: While some consultants simply provide strategy or advice, Gingrich directly contacted lawmakers in an effort to win their votes.

Three former Republican congressional staffers told me that Gingrich was calling around Capitol Hill and visiting Republican congressmen in 2003 in an effort to convince conservatives to support a bill expanding Medicare to include prescription-drug subsidies. Conservatives were understandably wary about expanding a Lyndon Johnson-created entitlement that had historically blown way past official budget estimates. Drug makers, on the other hand, were positively giddy about securing a new pipeline of government cash to pad their already breathtaking profit margins.

One former House staffer told me of a 2003 meeting Continue reading

Say it ain’t so Newt

I know it’s hard to believe, but The Newtster is a hypocrite.

Newt Gingrich slammed Democrats in 2008 as wholly owned subsidiaries of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Guess it takes one to know one.

As Republicans presidential nominee John McCain struggled to match his opponent in the polls, Newt Gingrich urged the Senator to reboot his campaign by relentlessly attacking Democrats for being too close to housing giant Freddie Mac.

That would be the same Newt Gingrich who took a reported $1.6 million in “consulting fees” from Freddie Mac during an eight-year relationship that had ended only months earlier.

He says today he was a consultant to Freddie Mac/Mae. I think last week he thought he’d been engaged as an historian.

Income gap – no comment

h/t mac at Talk & Politics

Wipe that smile off your face Mr. Gephardt

A run for President is good for business later

How do these people even show their faces in public? I used to think that Rep. Billy Tauzin was the worst example of the congressional ‘revolving door’, but Gephardt is looking like a contender. These guys still hang out with their former colleagues – probably having a big BBQ together next weekend.

Gephardt (D), former almost-Speaker of the House, is now, well, let’s let Sebastian Jones at The Washington Monthly tell the sordid story;

Even in a town as full of mercenaries and shills as Washington, Dick Gephardt is a special case. Just a handful of years ago, the then-Congressman touted himself as a friend of unions and a universal healthcare crusader. During his failed 2004 presidential bid, he was a man who stood against “the status-quo apologists” and “the special interest lobbyists running amok.” Today, he’s at the helm of his very own lobbying firm, working for the likes of PhRMA, Goldman Sachs and the coal company Peabody Energy. Even when compared to his many peers who have made trips through the revolving door, the list of issues on which Gephardt has been paid to reverse his position is very long indeed.

I’ll bet FOX News thinks these guys are patriots

From the LA Times yesterday:

Koch Brothers now at heart of GOP

The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch no longer sit outside Washington’s political establishment, isolated by their uncompromising conservatism. Instead, they are now at the center of Republican power, a change most evident in the new makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

(They pretty much own the committee and played a major role in electing and reelecting its members. Business, after all, is business. If the health of the US doesn’t align with the Koch goals for their energy companies, that’s just unfortunate.)

Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. . .

Koch Industries is the country’s second-largest privately run company, a conglomerate of refining, pipeline, chemical and paper businesses. . . .  Last year, Forbes magazine listed the brothers as the nation’s fifth-richest people, each worth $21.5 billion.

This is bad for America and bad for American.

People like the Kochs live behind walls with bodyguards; they don’t live in the same country as us.  The class divide in the US is now greater than that of Egypt. We should be paying closer attention to what’s happening in this increasingly corpratized country. (I’d say ‘our country’ but I’m not so sure of that anymore.)

I really like this part:

When the 85 freshman GOP lawmakers marched into the Capitol on Jan. 5 as part of the new Republican House majority, David Koch was there too.

The 70-year-old had an appointment with a staff member of the new speaker, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). At the same time, the head of Americans for Prosperity, Tim Phillips, had an appointment with Upton [Chair: Energy Committee]. They used the opportunity to introduce themselves to some of the new legislators and invited them to a welcome party at the Capitol Hill Club, a favorite wine-and-cheese venue for Republican power players in Washington.

Wasting no time. Wish I could have been there. I have opinions too.

If Joe Lieberman starts lobbying for AIPAC . . .

I may have to put needles in my eyes.

AIPAC

Money for money

BP has their fingers crossed yet again, and a few million residents of the Gulf Coast weep as their way of life disappears. Just another day in the greatest country ever governed by an almost entirely owned Congress.

From today’s New York Times‘ (that paper so thoroughly quoted by Glenn Beck) lead editorial:

“No industry enjoys the array of tax breaks and subsidies that the oil and gas industry does . . . Industry has spent $340 million on lobbying over the last two years to block [initiates to limit the tax breaks]”

So. Let’s see how that goes.

I drive by a big box store with a fully lit parking light six hours after the store has closed and am comforted by the knowledge that those lights can burn on as long as our soldiers keep fighting those wars. Like in Afghanistan, where today is the 277th day of the ninth year of the war.

Nothing short of higher energy prices will change how we behave in this country. Our disgraceful wasteful ways go on. We should be so very ashamed.

Reagan – again

Yup. Recently read Gary Willis’ Bomb Power. (I didn’t finish it – by the middle I was skimming but not because it isn’t a superb and important book, which it is – but because it was overdue at the library and not renewable.)

But to the Reagan reference – this is a difficult time for my country and a big part of our current crises can be traced to regulatory failures. And as even children know, the dismantling and neutering of the regulatory apparatus began aggressively in Reagan’s administration. Clinton stopped the bleeding, but he didn’t do much to strengthen its bite – then George W. picked up where Reagan left off but with more enthusiasm. Wherever his administration was stymied by existing legislation, they got around that by installing lobbyists and industry insiders into the agencies they were charged to regulate. So they didn’t. And that was that and here we are.

BP gas stateion - small type says: You are responsible for any spills.

Willis notes the successes of Carter’s enforcement of existing legislation and then the addition of the 1978 Energy Act, created in response to the ‘oil shocks’ a few years earlier.

“Not surprisingly, it all worked. Between 1975 and 1985, American passenger vehicle mileage went from around 13.5 mpg to 27.5 mpg  – which helped to creat a global oil glut from the mid-80’s to the mid-90’s, which not only weakened OPEC, but also helped to unravel the Soviet Union, then the world’s second-largest producer . . . Then Reagan declare government to be the problem, ignoring the very recent and succesful ‘solution’ . . . He began by systematically dismantling his predecessor’s energy program. He removed the subsidies for wind and solar. So technology pioneered by American companies and financed by American taxpayers was sold to foreign firms. He relaxed pollution and mileage standards. Reagan stocked the agencies with people who did not believe in what they did. They were there to gut what they were supposed to be promoting.

Reagan’s generally sympathetic biographer Lou Cannon said of this: “Overall, Reagan left a ruinous regulatory legacy.”

Thanks guys. We in western Florida, where the Wall Street crisis cut the value of our homes by 40% and who are now dreading the loss of our beachs AND our tourist fueled economy thank you.

What we do to ourelves

Here’s one to keep an eye on. As the US, for the first time, begins the process of paying official attention to what’s in our food and why are children are in the middle of an obesity epidemic, the lobbyists are doubling up their efforts. Witness: salt.

“[as we are] urging food companies to greatly reduce their use of salt. Last month, the Institute of Medicine went further, urging the government to force companies to do so.

But the industry is working overtly and behind the scenes to fend off these attacks, using a shifting set of tactics that have defeated similar efforts for 30 years, records and interviews show. Industry insiders call the strategy “delay and divert” and say companies have a powerful incentive to fight back: they crave salt as a low-cost way to create tastes and textures.”

Stinkin’ liars

If health care fails to pass, it will mark the most remarkable victory of an industry lobbying effort in my life. The very saddest part of it will be that these people – who work against American interests – convinced Americans to go along.

Let’s never forget: corporations do not have any national allegiance. Corporations have no moral imperatives.

In other news, Elvis* is still dead

What a delight to come home from a thrilling evening at the theatre and see Kevin Drum on the Moyers show. I’ve never seen him before, although I began reading his stuff a decade ago, when he was one of my early blogstops. At his then blog, CalPundit, he originated the practice of “Friday Cat Blogging” – now widely imitated. HIs beat, then as now, was current events. He’s been at Mother Jones for a few years now and he, along with David Corn of the same magazine were Moyers’ guests tonight.

As usual, a terrific and informative hour. About the financial services industry, about Geitner (his chief of staff is a former Goldman Sacks lobbyist – good god!) and Bernanke and Obama and what needs to be done and isn’t being done. And about how thoroughly that industry has the Congress doing its bidding. It’s a grim picture and Drum pointed to the failure of the media, the business press in particular.

Another great show from that commie, pinko, faggot, anti-American Baptist minister. Thank goodness he’s retiring and we won’t have to hear any more of this nonsense. We have better things to do.

* And it’s Elvis’ 75th birthday today. Maybe he would know what to do.