Posts tagged ‘lobbyists’

January 27, 2009

More lobbyist problems for Obama?

by thoughtfulconservative

First, William Lynn, now New Intel Director Blair Resigns Defense Company Post

Before taking his new job as head of U.S. intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair has to resign lucrative directorships on the boards of two companies that do tens of millions of dollars of business with the Defense Department.

Blair, who two years ago ran afoul of Pentagon conflict-of-interest rules, has already resigned a $100,000-a-year post with Iridium Satellite LLC, according to company spokeswoman Liz DeCastro.

This guy has already had problems with conflict of interest. And he’s going to run U.S. intelligence? This is almost as good as Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner.

Speaking of our new Secretary of the Treasury,

Newly installed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued new rules Tuesday restricting contacts with lobbyists – and then hired one to be his top aide.

Patterson’s appointment marks the second time in President Barack Obama’s first week in office that the administration has had to explain how it’s complying with its own ethics rules as it hires a bevy of Washington insiders for administration jobs.

The exceptions and “special cases” are coming fast and furious. These appointments also were, no doubt, “vital” and “in the public interest,” just as Lynn is.

Oh, yeah, and there’s still the Clintons.

Bill Clinton pulled down $5.7 million in speaking fees last year – almost entirely from foreign sources, including nearly $2.1 million after news circulated that Hillary Clinton was in line for Secretary of State.

Former President Clinton’s globetrotting speaking tours and charitable activities were considered the major impediment to his wife’s confirmation. The Senate approved her nomination only after he agreed to voluntarily dial back his activities, partly by alerting ethics officials to any proposed foreign speaking arrangements.

A disclosure statement filed by Secretary Clinton highlights the tricky spot in which she may find herself going forward if her husband keeps up his money-making international travels.

[NOTE: All emphases in the above quotes are mine.]

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January 4, 2009

Richardson to withdraw as Commerce secretary

by thoughtfulconservative

From “MSDNC” via Badger Blogger who saw it at Michelle Malkin.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.

More can be found at Hot Air.

You know it almost makes one throw up one’s hands and tell Jack Lohman he’s right.

OK, I’m not quite there yet. But will more transparency really keep this stuff from happening so much?

Because we also see stuff like this, courtesy of James Rowen,

Forest Service Is Set to Allow the Paving of Logging Roads, Aiding Developer

Mark E. Rey, the former timber lobbyist who heads the Forest Service, last week signaled his intent to formalize the controversial change before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. [Bold is mine]

What? A former timber lobbyist is running the Forest Service?

There are other things involved, if you read the whole thing, but it just seems wrong. I know that politicians become lobbyists and then politicians again so what good is transparency?

No wonder some call it P-I-G (Party-in-Government).

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April 2, 2008

Lobbyists and term limits

by thoughtfulconservative

Jim Burkee, a Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s fifth congressional district, writes at his MequonNOW blog, Responsibility Now, and raises some questions that need consideration,

Thus was born the K Street Project – Tom DeLay’s decade-long effort make Republicans the primary beneficiaries of lobbyist cash (Washington’s K Street is home to many of its most powerful lobbyists). In one notorious example, first reported in Washington Monthly, Tom DeLay and Haley Barbour (Chairman of the Republican National Committee) met with the CEOs of several large American corporations. DeLay made clear to the executives – mostly Republicans – that “they were expected to purge their Washington offices of Democrats and replace them with Republicans.” The offended executives promptly walked out. But Tom DeLay’s project was ultimately successful.It also killed the Republican Revolution.

In 2001, when George W. Bush cemented Republican control of Washington, there were just over 17,000 registered lobbyists in Washington. By 2007, when Republicans lost the House and Senate, there were 37,000. Since 1998, according to the Center for Public Integrity, lobbyists spent $13 billion to influence members of Congress. Lobbyist influence extended even further: Half of all retiring Members of Congress now go into lobbying, where they often collect large six and seven-figure salaries.

I can understand where Mr. Burkee is coming from. When we hear how much lobbies give to our politicians and how that money seems to influence their decisions, it’s easy to get frustrated.

But are more regulations on campaign finances required? Are term limits required? With the high cost of campaigning, aren’t we headed toward a government by elite rich people because only they can run for office?

And remember, not all lobbyists are “evil.” God help me, I’m quoting Hillary Clinton here,

“A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans,” the New York senator said in defense of her decision to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. “They represent nurses, they represent social workers, yes, they represent corporations that employ a lot of people.”

Do we punish all because some are evil?

That seems to be Mr. Burkee’s cure.

I’m just not sure it’s the right one.