Tag Archives: lobbyists

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Two Schlubs in a Tub

From the guardian:

[Grover] Norquist holds no elected office but is one of the most powerful figures in Washington, head of a lobbying and activist group Americans for Tax Reform. Democrats blame him for the impasse over deficit reduction.

The Democratic senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry described him as the “13th member” of the 12-member congressional super-committee given the task of drawing up a plan to reduce the country’s $15tn national deficit.

Kerry and other Democrats complained that Norquist’s name was repeatedly invoked by the Republicans, and the word “pledge” came up over and over again.

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He didn’t lobby, it was just a hobby!

From Joan Walsh at Salon:

Another day, another story about Newt Gingrich profiteering. Well, three stories, actually.

The Washington Post reported this morning that a Gingrich “think tank,” the Center for Health Transformation, collected at least $37 million from health care industry groups, who were promised “access to Newt Gingrich” and “direct Newt interaction” in exchange for their cash. Also in exchange for their cash, perhaps, Gingrich took some interesting positions on health care reform: He supported the “individual mandate” that Americans buy insurance (or post a bond to cover unanticipated illness) as well as measures to encourage “end of life” planning. He ditched both positions, of course, once he realized they were unpopular with the Republican base.

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Mac ‘n Sleaze

From John Cassidy at THE NEW YORKER:

Take the ludicrous suggestion that Freddie Mac, the smaller of the two government-sponsored mortgage giants, may have expected Newt to do some lobbying on its behalf when, in 2006, it paid him the very modest sum of $300,000. Any fair-minded person would agree that Newt quashed this idea during one of last week’s debates. He explained that Freddie’s executives hired him for his expertise as a historian, adding that he warned them to stop lending money to folks who couldn’t repay their loans. In Newt’s own words: “My advice as a historian, when they walked in and said to me, ‘We are now making loans to people who have no credit history and have no record of paying back anything, but that’s what the government wants us to do.’ As I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is impossible.”

That explanation was more than good enough for me. But darn it if a couple of quibbling scribblers from Bloomberg News didn’t put out a report yesterday, quoting former executives of Freddie Mac saying that Newt was hired “to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.”

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100% Ridiculous

From POLITICAL HOTSHEET at CBS NEWS:

Over the past several weeks, hundreds of Americans have submitted personal tales of economic hardship on the “Occupy Wall Street”-affiliated Tumblr “We are the 99 percent.” Now, conservatives who oppose the Wall Street protests have an answer to it in the form of their own Tumblr, entitled “We are the 53%.”

According to the Washington Post, the blog was conceptualized by Redstate.org founder Erick Erickson, who collaborated on it with the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Josh Trevino and conservative filmmaker Mike Wilson.

The Tumblr claims to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes – the implication being that those associated with “Occupy Wall Street” are not also part of that 53 percent and do not pay federal income taxes.

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Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow

From THINK PROGRESS ECONOMY:

A new Stop Snitchin campaign to deter would-be informants, in this case against people speaking up against crimes on Wall Street, is quietly taking shape, this time far from the media’s eye.

Financial experts and academics agree that strong whistleblower regulations could have prevented the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and indeed much of the financial crisis if employees at firms engaged in fraudulent activity had spoken up early or had reported complex crimes to the appropriate authorities. Employees at firms at the center for the financial crisis, including troubled lender Countrywide, have cited intimidation and other illicit tactics as the reason few people spoke up as whistleblowers. Since the old whistleblower laws provided for weak legal protections for informants and relatively rare rewards, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passed last year revamped the system with new rights for informants blowing the whistle on financial crimes.

Bank lobbyists and Fox News, however, have made such protections enemy number one.

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Frack You!

From THINK PROGRESS GREEN:

On the campaign trail, Rick Santorum says his career since the Senate has been a paid commentary role at Fox News and as a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. But a mandatory disclosure requirement for presidential candidates reveals something new: Santorum has maintained his lifestyle through a well-paid consulting gig with Consol Energy Inc and a lobbying firm called American Continental Group.

The disclosure, revealed earlier this week, comes as a surprise because Santorum has never mentioned the fact that he works for a lobbying firm, nor do any state and federal lobbying disclosures have him listed as a lobbyist or contractor to such a company.

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He’s Proud to Be a Merck-an

From PERRY Presidential:

AUSTIN — Although never mentioned by name, Austin lobbyist Mike Toomey’s presence was felt keenly at Monday’s Republican presidential debate when Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann harshly criticized Gov. Rick Perry for his 2007 executive order mandating that Texas teenage girls receive an HPV vaccine that would have been worth millions in sales to Toomey’s client, Merck Pharmaceutical.

Calling it “flat out wrong,” Bachmann noted Perry had received campaign contributions from the drug maker and questioned Perry’s motives. “Was it about life or about millions of dollars to a drug company?”

Perry’s response — that he was “offended” by Bachmann’s suggestion that he “could be bought for $5,000” in campaign contributions from the drug maker — belied the powerful role that Toomey, a Houston native who once served as Perry’s chief of staff, has played in the governor’s political career. From advising Perry on personal legal issues to paying $10,000 to help the Green Party siphon votes from Democrats, Toomey has been a loyal and constant Perry political ally throughout his career.

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(left to right: Mike Toomey, Grover Norquist, Governor Little Ricky Goodhair, Botox Batshit Bachmann, Dave Carney, Rick Man-on-Dog Santorum)
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Goldman Sucks

From THINK PROGRESS:

Last week, ThinkProgress revealed that Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) hired Peter Haller, a former Goldman Sachs vice president, as one of his top aides. Haller, who adopted his mother’s maiden name in 2008 and had escaped public scrutiny until now, coordinated an Oversight Committee letter to regulators demanding that they justify new Dodd-Frank rules impacting investment banks like his old employer, Goldman Sachs. After publication of our story, the Project on Government Oversight discovered more of Haller’s Oversight Committee letters, again on issues directly related to Goldman Sachs.

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